Road Rules

Want to take your cat with you on vacation? Keep your trip fun and safe with proper planning.

By Andee Joyce | Posted: Thu Mar 15 00:00:00 PST 2001

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Where to Stay
There are many hotels and motels that will check-in animals, but you must call ahead to confirm. Because these accommodations are independently owned and operated, even if they're affiliated with major chains, never assume the pet policy at one hotel is identical to that of another hotel in the same chain. The Motel 6 chain, however, allows one small pet per room at no extra charge in all of its locations, except where prohibited by state law (you can confirm this when you reserve your room). The pet must be attended to constantly and declared at check-in. Many other hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast inns have similar policies.

Some hotels have boarding facilities on the premises to care for guests' pets while their owners are sightseeing. Large tourist attractions, such as the Disney amusement parks in California and Florida or Paramount's Kings Island in Ohio offer day catteries where you can leave your cat while visiting the park. Contact guest relations for information and reservations.

According to the American Hotel and Motel Association, budget and economy lodgings are more likely than luxury four-star resorts to welcome your cat. A recent member survey found 40 to 44 percent of budget motels allow small pets, as opposed to 26 to 28 percent of upscale hotels.

Some luxury hotels however, have bucked the trend. At the Chicago Ritz-Carlton, pet owners receive a Pet Welcome Gift featuring Iams pet foods and have access to a gourmet pet room service menu with goodies such as the filet of salmon chopped Charlie dish and Beluga caviar. The hotel gift shop includes a pet supply corner and the Ritz Kennel offers grooming services. "We don't have a lot of people who travel with pets, but we wanted to provide special services for those who do," says Susan Maier, public relations director for the Chicago Ritz-Carlton.

Pros and Cons of Tranquilizers
Tranquilizing animals for travel is a subject of controversy among veterinarians and other animal-care professionals. "Our feeling is there's no yes-or-no answer," says Lila Miller, DVM, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and veterinary advisor for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Most cats probably wouldn't need it, and it could affect their ability to maintain a proper sense of balance." Miller recommends that if tranquilizers are given, owners should be careful not to over sedate one dose one or two hours before departure should be sufficient and to give the drug before the cat becomes too stressed.

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