Sure, when my family goes on vacation, the predictable frustrations include getting the SUV tuned up, packing clothes and toiletries, fighting traffic and encountering outrageous souvenir/restaurant/theme park prices.
But inevitably, my biggest anxiety is worrying the whole time that at least one of our four indoor-outdoor cats (Cami, Porky, Cindy and Moggie) will give up on us, wander off, get killed and register to vote (in that order).
I’m sure I’m not alone in such sentimentality. But there’s new hope for cat lovers. According to the travel section of the Wall Street Journal, more and more hotels are catering to guests who bring their cats along.
(No, I haven’t heard Tom Bodett telling prospective Motel 6 customers, “We’ll leave a laser pointer on for you” yet, but stranger things have happened. All over my rug at home. Cami, what extinct species have you been EATING???)
Whatever you plan to do to entertain Fluffy when you arrive, you still have the long drive itself to endure. Pray that the cat sleeps most of the way. Traditional pastimes such as singing “99 Bottles of Beer” or counting out-of-state license plates just won’t cut it for fur babies. (“The Cornhusker State? How about the Can Opener State? Now, that would be worth skipping a few ZZZZZs.”)
A lot of establishments provide basic feline needs (food and water dishes, litter box, toys), but you can get just as extravagant as you desire, with chef-prepared gourmet food and other amenities. (“Crazy cat lady, huh? I’d like to Skype and show those losers back home how much fun I’m having, but I traded the free wifi for The Concierge Who Bleeds Freely and Asks for More.”)
Make sure that your cat understands the meaning of “continental breakfast.” Otherwise, he’ll get his expectations dashed. (“Do we get to pick the continent? Antarctica for me! I hear those penguin birds are good eating!”)
Many hotels provide an in-room scratching post for working out aggressions. Supposedly, this came about after one feline guest left a comment card saying, “You advertised 800-thread-count sheets, and, by Garfield, you delivered exactly that. Never mind how I know.”
Be careful about leaving your credit card in the room with the cat or there may be some unexpected charges. Someday the new compliment could be “You look like something the CAT ordered in.”
Hoteliers may start asking the Gideons to provide more cat-friendly Bibles for the rooms. You know, with verses such as “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not turn a backflip, land with my back arched and hiss like an idiot.”
Tipping will no longer be just the concern of the humans. (“Did you see? I tipped, too. I tipped the lamp. I tipped the coffee pot. I tipped the aquarium. I tipped the …”)
Cat-friendly hotels are a blessing to many. (“Now I can feel at home WITHOUT having to rub my skin with sandpaper and shove a dirty diaper in my face while I’m trying to watch TV.”)
Yes, cat-friendly hotels could be the Next Big Thing. But hotel owners must ensure that all staff members are on board with customer satisfaction. Otherwise, Tiger’s request for a wake-up call may elicit a surly 5 a.m. phone message of “The whole nine lives thing is made up!!! There’s your wake-up call, lizard breath!”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”