4 Trips for Cat Lovers

Last week I was talking with some friends about strange roadside attractions across the U.S. and some of us had even seen some of them as kids on family trips. We also talked about some of the out-of-this-world parades and festivals that exist for different things. I won’t go into it too much but these talks sparked me looking for random vacations that might have some pet-themes or quirky places that you can go if you are a pet lover. I found a few for those of us who are cat lovers (sorry, dog people).

4 Trips for Cat Lovers

  • Cat Cafes – A long, long time ago I wrote about cat cafes in Tokyo where you can buy a latte and then sit and read with a room of cats that will make you feel like you’re at home… want some cat hair in your coffee? Want a cat that will sit on the arm of the chair? Or maybe you need a cat that will nudge your hand for petting. If so, try one of these three cafes: Shimokitazawa’s Cateriam, Nekobukuro, Curl Up Cafe.
  • The Ernest Hemingway House – going to Key West, Fl? If you take a tour of the Hemingway Home and Museum you will most likely meet a few of the 40+ cats that live there. Many of the cats have extra toes and may be descendants of Hemingway’s cat, Snowball. The cats are all cared for, have a good life, and are named after famous people. You might meet Hairy Truman.
  • Moscow Cats Theatre – The cat theatre has been around since 1990 and is a father-son owned business. The theatre might spark a little controversy among some people regarding the well-being of the cats, but they seem quite happy from what I’ve read and researched. Every performance has some VIP seating for children who are in foster homes and orphanages, physically-challenged people, and children from children’s hospitals. In 2005, the theatre gained the status of a State Cultural Institution, which means, you have to check it out if you’re traveling through Moscow City!
  • Hello Kitty Amusement Park – Ok, I was shocked to find this. Some of my friends got really excited when I told them this park existed. It’s in Tokyo and all the rides are cat-themed, musicals and dancing are done by people dressed as Hello Kitty and friends, and there is a replica of Hello Kitty’s house that you can walk through. It’s like visiting Disneyland but 100% Hello Kitty. It’s officially called Sanrio Puroland, but really, it’s Hello Kitty world.

Image from NPR

5 Unique Hotels for Pet Lovers

One of the things I love about traveling to a new place is the fact that I’ll see or do something I don’t get to do at home like ordering food in my rusty French or waking up in a hotel room that is completely different than any I’ve ever stayed in before. I’ve stayed in hostels and hotels that had some fun decorations, quirky staff, and themes and it adds to the vacation.

When you plan your next trip, finding a hotel based on budget is important but it is also great if you can find one that is fun! I hunted around and found some that appeal to the pet lover in me and hopefully to you too.

5 Unique Hotels for Pet Lovers

La Villa Hamster – Ever wondered what your hamster felt like jogging in that wheel? Or what it is like to drink from a water bottle with a tube? Well, now you can! In Nantes, France a very bizarre but cool hotel has rooms that resemble hamster cages. Sleep on haystacks, run in a big metal wheel, and suck water through a tube to a water bottle. It’s all very funky. Take pictures. Your friends won’t believe you.
Image from SpotCoolStuff

Dog Bark Park Inn is located in Cottonwood, Idaho and is one of the more bizarre hotels that exist. The inn is shaped like a Beagle. In fact, it is the World’s Biggest Beagle. Guests enter from a two story deck and inside there are many wood-carved pieces from local artists. The head of the beagle is another sleeping area for your kids or you and, of course, the Dog Bark Park Inn is pet-friendly.

The Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge located in Eureka Springs, AR is a refuge for abandoned, abused, and neglected Big Cats. There are tours everyday except Christmas and you can stay there! Yup, the refuge has lodging in cabins that are all very “wild” in their look and feel. Bamboo woodworking, wildlife art, and great views of the grounds make the trip to the refuge unforgettable. Not to mention meeting some beautiful big cats like lions, tigers, cougars, and cheetahs up close. This would be a great family vacation!

Going to Key Largo, Fl? Then think about staying at the Jules’ Undersea Lodge. Jules’ Undersea Lodge is the only underwater hotel in the United States. It is 30 feet deep on the ocean floor and guests have to scuba dive to get to their rooms. How awesome and weird is that?!

The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN is your normal looking, everyday, beautiful hotel. It doesn’t have hamster wheels, scuba diving hallways, or a wagging tail but it does have a red carpet for the ducks. Yes, the ducks. Not the people. Well, mallards to be exact. Five mallards waddle from the hotel’s fountain to its elevator and then back, across their very own red carpet twice a day. The ducks march through crowds…yes…crowds of onlookers to the tune of John Phillip Sousa’s King Cotton March.

No matter where you stay, remember to call and check the rates as they change depending on the season. Also, if you are going to travel with your pet, ask them what their policy is and what is allowed and not allowed.

Happy travels!

What To Do When You Can’t Take Your Pet On Vacation

Going away for the holidays? If your pets have to stay behind, it can be very stressful for them. What you choose to do with your pet can mean the difference in a stressed pet and one who has a wonderful time. It can also mean the difference between a stressed out you as you wonder and worry or completely cool and content knowing your pet is in good hands.

What to do when your pet can’t travel with you


Kenneling/Boarding is a great choice for dogs who require supervision, are active and people-oriented, and are easily stressed by their owners’ absence. Kennels and boarding facilities are safe and many offer around-the-clock care, ideal for dogs with medical conditions that require close supervision. Some have web cams so you can log in and see what your dog and the others are up to at any given time. Catteries also tend to have webcams or may email you an update at your request.

Get a Professional Pet Sitter

Pet sitters will come by your house a certain number of times per day and will feed, walk, play and do any necessary cleaning for your pet. Some offer additional services, such as turning on lights, watering flowers, etc. This is a great option if your dogs can be trusted on their own and if they do not get anxious or stressed due to your absence. Some dogs are more comfortable and less stressed when in their home environment. Some pet sitters will also stay in your house.

Ask a Friend

Ask that awesome friend of your who loves your pet more than you if he or she would be willing to be your pet sitter. This is especially good if money is tight and you aren’t sure if your pet will do well with strangers.

Are you sure Fido can’t go?

You may be able to take your pet with you. Even if the hotel you are staying at doesn’t allow pets you may find dog daycares or boarding facilities in that city that will let your pet stay with them and arrange for you to come by each day for a few hours. I’ve worked at a few dog daycares and we would work with the pets and their owners to find what would work best for the well-being of everyone.

Image from My Dog’s Bakery DayCare

Best Cities for Dog-Friendly Dining

In August of 2012, Men’s Health Magazine, released an article about the most dog friendly and least dog friendly.

The top 4 friendly dog cities are:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. Wilmington, DE
  4. Seattle, WA

Aside from the fact that each of these cities have a plethora of pet-related services (such as dog daycares, veterinarians, pet bakeries and boutiques), they also boasted having pet-friendly hotels, dog parks, and restaurants.

If you plan on visiting one of these cities with your pup or maybe just moved there, you might be wondering where you can go with your dog aside from the park. There are plenty of great cafes and restaurants in each of these cities that welcome pets and their human companions.

Places to eat in the top 4 Dog-Friendly Cities

Portland, OR – The city known for its relaxed attitude, dog parks, and food also loves pets. Lucky Lab Brewing Company has several locations around the city that all welcome dogs on their patios.

McMenamins owns several fun bars and restaurants in Portland and every single one of them is dog-friendly. Dogs must be leashed and can sit outside with their owners at the special sidewalk seating areas. Don’t forget to check out a second run movie at one of their many theaters.

Colorado Springs, CO – A beautiful city that sits at the foot of Pike’s Peak. It has plenty of outdoor activities and dog-friendly places to go with your best friend. If you’re hungry, check out Caspian Cafe located at 4375 Sinton Road and bring your pup. You can both sit outside.

Ted’s Montana Grill is the perfect place to get some great American food with your dog. Be warned though, the burgers and fries you get may have to be shared with your four-legged friend as you might not be able to finish it. All dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed and friendly.

Wilmington, DE – Explore the underground railroad and mansions then settle in for a relaxing meal with your furry friend. Catherine Rooney’s is a great pub which welcomes all dogs who are well-mannered and leashed on their outdoor seating area.

Brew Ha Ha is the place to go to when you want that perfect espresso before hitting the park with your pup. Dogs are welcome and must be on leash.

Seattle, WA – Seattle has a lot of great attractions from museums to shopping to hiking. If you are here with your canine companion, there are also great places to grab a bite. The Barking Dog Alehouse is a great place to have a micro-brew beer and some food. Your dog is welcome to hang out in the outdoor seating area with you but must be friendly to children and other dogs.

Luna Park Cafe is the perfect spot to start your day with a hot breakfast and coffee before hiking or heading to the dog park. Grab a seat at the outdoor seating section with your buddy and get energized for the big day ahead.

Did we miss some places? Tell us where you go with your canine buddy!
Image from Kathy Posner’s Blog

Glen Highland Farms: Pet-Friendly NY Getaway

Hey New Yorkers! It’s hot, really hot. Last weekend it was 97 degrees and humid. The subway stations feel like ovens, the sidewalks can fry an egg, and you and your dog are panting after walking one block to the local coffee shop to get an iced coffee.

A weekend away may be just the thing you need. There’s a great pet-friendly getaway located 4 hours outside of NYC near Utica, NY that promises fun, sunshine, and outdoor adventures called Glen Highland Farms.

>> Check out all your options for pet-friendly hotels in New York.

This dog friendly vacation spot is located in Morris, NY and was created especially for those of us who love to vacation with our pets. It’s located on 175 acres of land where you can camp, rent a tent, cabin, cottage, or RV spot. The land was once home to the Iroquois Indians. Now it’s a farm with a beautiful creek, lush wooded trails, lots of wildlife, and a 2 acre pond.

Canine Outdoor Adventure has two options for your stay at Glen Highland: Canine Country Camp or Canine Country Getaway.

The first one is called “Canine Country Camp.” You need to register early if you want to participate in the week long campout, the next dates are Sept 8-13, 2012. There are 35 spots open for each camping trip and the spots fill up quickly. The camping trip is not just fun, it’s also educational. During the week-long stay, instructors will be on hand offering tips and tricks on how to engage your dog in different types of play and lecture on topics such as canine health, nutrition, resolving behavior problems, and understanding your dog better.

Each day at the camp includes 3 meals, a morning and afternoon lecture, a group walk through one of the many trails, and opportunities to sign up and participate in sporting sessions. If your dog seems to have a knack for climbing, likes herding, or is a natural born jumper, these classes will give you and your dog the opportunity to run agility courses, herd, or rally and work with an instructor one on one to learn how to do it properly. Is your dog a water dog? Yeah, they have classes for that too.

The camp fee is $1300 per adult. It includes all meals and instructions with teachers. The cost of the lodging will vary depending what you choose: tent, cabin, or RV. All dogs who visit Glen Highland Farm must be up to date with vaccines and proof is required for each dog that visits.

The second option is called, “Canine Country Getaway.” This option is for shorter stays. You and your dog can sign up for training sessions and/or lectures at an additional cost and use the agility equipment anytime of the day. The trails that run throughout the farm were created from the owners’ dogs who ran around when they first bought the land.

Hike, run, explore, and swim in the ponds, check out the 60 acre meadow or fish. The pond is stocked with trout and bass for catch and release fishing. Bring your bike if you want to ride one of the many mapped bike trails outside of the farm. Being located at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, there are amazing beautiful, breathtaking views that you’ll want to photograph.

Remember to bring your own food which can be purchased the local grocery store in Morris or on your way up, enough food and treats for your furry buddy, and other items for your stay such as bedding, toiletries, and good sneakers. The season for staying at Glen Highland started on June 1 and runs through October 8, 2012. There is a 2 night minimum stay.

The prices start at $135 a night for a tent, $175 a night for a cabin, and $225 a night for a cottage. RV prices vary by the size and if you bring your own.

The vacation spot is owned by Lillie Goodrich and John Andersen. They were inspired by their first Border Collie, Luke, where dogs could enjoy off-leash fun, run far and wide, and love life. Glen Highland Farm is not just a vacation spot, Sweet Border Collie Rescue is also here. It has been in operation since 2001. The dogs rest and live in a 200 year old barn and run through the grassy fields, play with each other, and wait for their new forever homes. Lillie and John have placed over 900 dogs in new homes since they have started their rescue work. You may see some of these pups running around and your dog could make a lot of new friends.

To book your stay and more information, head over to their website.

Photo from Glen Highland Farms, Canine Outdoor Adventures

What’s The Most Pet-Friendly Place You’ve Ever Stayed In?

We love our pets. We love your pets too!

We want to know as you head off on adventures with your favorites furry buddy or winged companion, in what accommodation did you receive the best service and most importantly, how was your pet treated?

Cast Your Vote On Facebook

We are asking for feedback from PetsWelcome readers about the most pet-friendly places you’ve stayed. Please vote in our Facebook poll, and add a place if it isn’t on the list.

It only takes a minute and your vote contributes to helping everyone figure out where they may stay on their next road trip.

And hey, if you’re not already a fan of PetsWelcome on Facebook, why not join us there, too? We share tidbits about pet travel (and some pretty adorable animal photos) there that don’t make it onto the blog. We’d love to see you there!

Here are a few pet-friendly accommodation options we’ve spotlighted in previous articles:

Image from Best Western in Savannah, GA

Halloween Zoo Events For The Family

BOO! Halloween is great for kids. It means they get to hoard candy from all your neighbors, dress up in costumes, and then eat as much of the candy as you allow before you send them to bed and then eat the rest for yourself. Trick or treating can be a lot of fun but stressful for parents as we have to sift through the loot and look for any suspicious packaging or exposed candy… and don’t get me started on the people who give out apples as a ‘treat.’

If trick or treating is on the agenda for the late afternoon, or if you’re traveling with your family and looking for something to do while away from home, check out the local zoo in your area. Many zoos around the country are holding Halloween-themed parties that are great for families.

The Bronx Zoo in NYC will be busy with their Boo at the Zoo event. There will be puppet shows, hay rides, a parade, and a spooky extinct graveyard for the family to explore. There is also a 3-D Haunted Safari ride that will take you through a bat cave, a snake belly, and a swamp.

The San Diego Zoo is having a Halloween Party, complete with a scavenger hunt, scary storytelling, and a Spooky Sleepover! You’ll get to camp overnight in the park and take a night tour, be careful, you may meet some ghosts of animals past.

If you’re in Utah, head to the Hogle Zoo where they will be hosting their 22nd annual Boo at the Zoo party. There will be booths throughout the zoo for children to greet and get treats, a guided night tour, and a special encounter with Spiderella who will tell you all her favorite creepy stories.

The Louisville Zoo in Kentucky will have a party like no other. If your child is not quite brave enough to face off against goblins and ghosts, try zip lining across the Pirate’s Cove or touring the pumpkin patch and meeting the Giant Talking Pumpkin. It’s a not-too-scary party full of activities and trick or treating.

Check your local zoo or the zoo of the city you’re in to see what event they are hosting and meet the relatives of your cats and dogs! By visiting your local zoo you’ll be supporting programs that work to protect endangered animals, help find ways to enrich their lives, and promote education awareness about our environment, ecosystems, and well-being. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Dog-Friendly Vacationing in Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, is the capital and largest city in the state. It is a major center for the Midwest section of the US, and has a developed tourist industry. This city has a good amount of culture and events, as well as historic sites and monuments. There are also some lovely places to be outdoors when it is nice outside. Many of these parks and historical sites have areas that leashed dogs can accompany their owners during their visit.


Crown Hill Cemetary

The Crown Hill Cemetery is located on beautiful grounds that contain lots of different trees, plants and little animals running and flying around. It contains the graves of President Benjamin Harrison, poet James Whitcomp and even bankrobber John Dillinger. There is also a lovely urban view from the graveyard. Dogs are allowed to explore this area with you, so long as they are leashed.

Indiana War Memorial

While dogs are not allowed in the buildings of the Indiana War Memorial, they are allowed on leash within its three parks and 24 acres of monuments, statues and sculptures that surround this area. It is located in downtown Indianapolis.

State Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

The Soldier’s and Sailors’ Monument is located in Monument Circle of Indiana, and was designed by Bruno Schmitz and constructed from 1888-1901. Dogs cannot go into the museum, but are allowed outside the building so long as they are leashed.

President Benjamin Harrison’s Home

The former residence of 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, has a nice house and landscaped grounds. Leashed dogs can be outside, but not in the building.


White River State Park

White River State Park is located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, and has lots of different attractions and entertainment throughout its premises. There are lots of different sections of the park to walk around or just lounge on the grass. Dogs are allowed in this park on leash, and there are some clean-up stations in some parts.

Outdoor Restaurants

Plump’s Last Shot

Plump’s Last Shot is a bar that has some food, along with a dog-friendly patio.

Henry’s on East

Henry’s on East is a coffee bistro that offers assorted drinks, breakfast, lunch, dessert and weekend brunches. Leashed dogs can sit at the outdoor tables.

Front Page Tavern

Front Page Tavern is a sports bar and grill that offers different types of drinks and a few things to eat. Leashed dogs can sit at the outdoor tables.

Dog-Friendly Vacationing Around Humboldt, California

Humboldt County, California is located on the far North Coast of the state. The two biggest towns in Humboldt are Eureka, the county seat, and Arcata, a small college town. The towns have some interesting Victorian houses located in their premises. This area is situated on the Pacific Ocean, and away from the beaches, the land is heavily wooded and full of Redwoods. For nature types, there are lots of great beach spots and parks for humans and dogs to explore.


Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

This state park in Eureka, California, used to be a remote military post established in 1853, to tend to conflicts that would rise up between gold miners and Native Americans. Today, it is a historic area that is situated on a bluff that stares into Humboldt Bay. Leashed dogs may walk around the outdoor areas, but cannot go in any of the buildings.


Samoa Dunes

Samoa Dunes is located in Samoa, California, and is a park of over 300 acres. People like to drive off-highway vehicles around these dunes, but others go there for fishing, surfing, hiking, picnicking and other fun activities. Dogs can run around on or off-leash, but have to be under voice control. Those who let their dogs roam off-leash should have a leash handy.

Parks and Trails

Six Rivers National Forest

This national forest encompasses over one million acres, and there are many trails to hike with your leashed dog, many of which are accessible through Eureka.

Hammond Trail

Many locals around Arcata, California, like to take their dogs on Hammond Trail. It goes over the Mad River pedestrian bridge and through some lovely beaches spots, and is a 5+ mile distance. Dogs must be leashed.

Hiller Dog Park

Hiller Dog Park is located in McKinleyville, California, and features forest, meadow and ocean. It is not fenced, but there are nearby restrooms, benches, waste bags, trash cans and a water fountain.

Arcata Community Forest

Arcata Community Forest encompasses about 790 acres of woodland with lots of Redwoods. There are 18 trails, which are up to 2 miles in length, and leashed dogs are welcome to hike with their owners.

Outdoor Restaurants

Hana Sushi

Hana Sushi is a restaurant with assorted Japanese food, and is located in Eureka. Leashed dogs are welcome to sit at the outdoor tables.

Los Bagels

Los Bagels is located in Old Town, Eureka, and also in Arcata. They bake all sorts of bagels, breads, muffins, danishes, empanadas and other pastries.

Tips for Road Trips with Your Rat


Traveling with your rat can be fun for both of you, so long as you prepare for it and are properly supplied for the session.

If you are going on a long car trip, you should get your rat used to being in the car beforehand. Start off by going on short trips, and then gradually longer trips, with your rat. That way it won’t be nervous when you embark on a long journey.

In terms of cages, you should buy a travel cage or container, as its home cage is usually too big and is meant for domestic purposes. It is dangerous to bring a multi-level cage, because your rat could bang against something if your car comes to a sudden stop. You can put it in its travel cage for short periods before you embark on your journey. Make sure your rat can get lots of air, and that it is properly secured. You can usually secure cages with a seatbelt.


While driving, do not attach water bottles to your rat’s cage. Jerky movements may cause the water to leak out on to your rat, which could get it sick. Instead, you should stop every couple hours to give water to your rat so that it can properly hydrate. If there are a few rats in the cage, you should bring at least two bottles for the watering sessions. Don’t let the water bottles sit in the sunlight, because they will get hot, and rats don’t like hot water. The best idea is to bring along a cooler and place the rat’s water next to your own drink bottles.

When you pack up your car, make sure that all of the rat’s supplies are in easy reach. Have all of their food, litter and medicine in one place, like a plastic bag, that is easy to reach. You should also make everything easy to take into a hotel room (or wherever you are staying). You should also take along extra hiding blankets and old rags or blankets. Keep your rat’s cage as clean as possible, for your rat’s comfort and for your own.

Do not let your rat get too cold or too hot. If you are going to a hot place, make sure your air conditioner works, or else it could get a heat stroke. In the winter, you could bring along Snuggle Safe Heating Pads, which are hard plastic disks that can retain heat for 12 hours after your microwave them. You can stop at gas stations and reheat them on the way, too.

Click here for a video about traveling with rats and different carrying cases.