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No Room at the Inn for a Cat

Although the Maine house closing is not until 17 May, the moving company will be loading Crabby's household goods on 12 May so that they will be delivered to Lake Oswego within a few days of her arrival on 18 May for her Oregon house closing the next day. That means a hotel in Maine for Crabby and Ollie the cat until their airplane flight on the 18th and at least two days in need of shelter in Oregon.

So Crabby spent many more hours than she expected over last weekend trying to book these hotel dates.

Cats, she has learned, are second-class pets in the hotel business. Many will take a dog, but hardly any will accommodate a cat.

Because the Maine hotel had not been a problem - just a $10/day additional charge for Ollie – Crabby expected an equally easy booking in Oregon. She checked for a pet policy at the website of the hotel where she wanted to stay. “Dog Friendly” was listed. When she telephoned, the reservation clerk said, in a tone of voice just a smidgen shy of snooty distaste, “Oh, no, we wouldn't allow cats here.”

What a short-sighted, stupid rule. Cats are much cleaner than dogs. They don't go for walks, so they won't track dirt on the carpet. They are fastidious about their bathroom habits. Most are so scared in a new place, they hide under the bed for the duration and they never, ever bark.

Crabby worked her way through six or seven more hotel websites, big names all. None announce a pet policy, but every one of them promises her stay will be so spiritually enlightening that Crabby would expect immediate attainment of satori. “Thrive in the hotel's luxurious environment,” says one headline. You can “experience,” “grow,” “explore,” and “enhance your spirit” in their hotel assure others and even, in one case, save the rainforest while you're there.

Not one would accept a cat.

Crabby Old Lady is pretty sure that any enlightenment she gains in life won't be for the price of two nights in a hotel room. And anyway, all she wants to do is cuddle up in bed with her cat and ease his fear. Hotels, apparently, are not as spiritually enlightened as their marketing divisions want customers to believe.

In the end, Crabby, her brother and his wife, against their initial judgment, decided they could survive a couple of days with three wary cats and dog. Crabby will let you know how it goes.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Madonna Dries Christensen: A Knock on the Door


A happily-ever-after solution: cheaper, friendlier, cozier. While moving from DC to Atlanta in the previous century, I had to bring my kitty under cover into motel rooms rented for two stops along the way. Seems not much enlightenment at least in OR since then. Sneaky? Yes. Other known options? No. Total property damage? Zero.

Ronni, I have an empty condo in St. John's in NW Portland and a daughter with a key. I would love to have you stay for free if you would like. It's a little ways from Lake Oswego I think, but I absolutely accept cats. It has a queen bed for the two of you and a kitchen and big bathroom, also a small television with cable and internet. I'm going to send you an email in addition to this post.

Hi Ronni,
You and Ollie are welcome here if you would like. We have a guest room with bath upstairs in the studio. It is very private, its own entrance. Olof's parents live downstairs and we edit in the other room with a huge view of Mount Washington.
The yard is fenced in for cats, though you probably would not want to let Ollie out unless you put him on a leash.
We're an hour and a half from Portland. Maine, that is,
It's pretty dumb that we've never met in the last four years! I never get to Portland with time on my own.
If you want to come I can send directions. You'd save some money and probably be more relaxed than staying in a hotel. Unless you have things to do in Portland before you leave.

That's very kind of you, but we are now settled on staying with my brother and his wife which is less than half a mile from our new abode.

What a lovely offer. However, I'll be spending the five hotel days in Maine cleaning the empty apartment for the new owners, hauling trash to the recycle center and readying all the documents, money transfers, etc. for the house closings that are within two days of each other. So I need to be in town.

I so appreciate your generosity, both of you. Thank you so much.

Just a note of explanation - it's not that cats wreck a room, it's that many people are allergic to cats, and they can't stay in a room after a cat has been in it for a few days, unless it has been specially cleaned. The hotel owners have no way of accommodating this (surprisingly sizable) portion of their customers unless they have a strict no-cat policy. For some reason, allergies to dogs do not seem to be as much of a problem, and people who have them stay away from hotels that allow dogs, anyway. Plus, fewer people travel with cats than with dogs.
Although it does seem as though there would be ONE place that allows both cats and dogs.

Try --
I checked out Portland, OR, for hotels/motels who will take pets and found quite a few. Motel 6 actually had an ad on the Web site with a picture of a cat in the ad!

For others who may be facing the same problems, I have driven across the country and back with my three cats and always found help here:

My grandson, whose father is a veterinarian, is allergic to dogs and not cats. We have been through the finding a place that accepts cats because of traveling with ours between here and Tucson. Best Westerns are the most pet accomodating (they only have certain rooms which means that allergic people, as with those like us who don't want smoking, can have their rooms safely). I've been in motels when I have heard dogs barking; so any pet has its potential problems. Choice Hotels (which goes under different names) also was good in Medford as when we go down there to visit family, we have occasionally had to bring a cat. AAA is my best resource for finding the right places when traveling. There is one town in Nevada (miles on either side) on the way to Tucson that accepts no pets at all period. Many charge $10 per animal as a fee but it definitely takes some planning when traveling with our little buddies.

We turned our Tucson house into a vacation rental and advertise it as pet accomodating which means cats or dogs. It does take a bit longer to clean after either. Anybody who has allergies won't be renting from us, but I like the kind of people who bring their pets so much that it's worth it. People are so grateful to find somewhere they can bring their little friends and so far so good on how it's worked out. We do ask an extra $100 deposit on damages and as long as the dog owner picks up all of their pet's wastes, we refund that fully.

I'm glad your brother and his wife have solved your problem. I am sure you will enjoy their company much more than being in an impersonal hotel room.

It is exciting for all of us to read of your move and the challenges you are facing along the way. I hope all goes smoothly from now on.

Alas, I am one of those people who is allergic to cats and can attest that I am miserable within a couple of hours when near cats, even when the cat owners are fastidious housekeepers and the cats are 'locked up' in a room during my visit. I understand that my reaction is not to the cat hair, but rather to the cells in the cat's saliva. Makes cleaning much trickier.

Speaking of cats, have you seen the mechanical drawing of a cat, by Headcase Design? Clever, and obviously created by One Who Knows Cats.

Dear have many loving and caring readers plus family. Worst case scenario, you can board Ollie at your Brother's vet and pick him up the day you move into the house.

We travel a lot and are gone for long periods, so our animals get boarded. They don't like it, or at least the cat doesn't, but they are safe and well cared for and I don't have to worry about them.

With those additional cats and a dog you will need to be military in your guard at open doors. Losing Ollie would be the undoing of you. I know you know all this, but I just had to put the emphasis out there!

Actually there are quite a few cat friendly hotels in Portland.

Thank you for all the information on finding cat-friendly hotels. I did use many of them in my quest over the weekend, but they were in Portland, not Lake Oswego and it doesn't make sense for me to be that far away when everything I need to do those few days is in Lake Oswego.

I did find a hotel in Lake Oswego that would take cats, but on the two occasions I called to book a room, the reservation clerk told me that she was busy and I should call back later.

Since that does not bode well for the functioning and services of the hotel, I declined to call back again.

Oh, best of luck with your travels with Ollie.

I had moved to DC in 1982 and by 1986 thought I had had enough and was planning on moving back to Minnesota. The plan was for me to move back home with my mom for a month or two while I looked for a job and apartment. She was VERY excited I was moving back but when she said I couldn't bring my cat to stay at her home, I decided I couldn't move back. While looking back it was the right decision for me, I know she always regretted not allowing Bill the cat to stay at her house, thus keeping her youngest from moving back home.

Ronni, I am one of the bad sneaky ones who had to move cross-country years ago with three cats. We were driving a truck, pulling a car, and had no way of knowing where we would be each night. We had to carry our kitties in the back way. They had food, water and a litter box in the bathroom and slept well, making no disturbances, fuss or muss. We did what we had to do. They lived with us happily for years.


I am so glad you will be able to stay with your brother and his wife and I hope that you and Ollie do well during that time. I am sorry to hear the hotels were not more accommodating!

Glad you're inclined to follow guidelines and not sneak Ollie into no pet hotel rooms. My dtr and granddtr are allergic to cats (not dogs.) Expect people who choose not to observe the no pets/cats rules don't realize the potential health problem they may create for others -- it's simply not a matter of discriminating against pets.

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