When I was a kid, there was no such thing as booking a hotel room online. On our family vacations to Florida, that meant riding around looking for vacancy signs at hotels and motels with names like the Sea Foam Motel and the Dead Squid Smell Inn. Fortunately, the Dead Squid Smell Inn didn’t smell anything like dead squid because back then all hotel rooms smelled like cigarettes.
(Yes, kids, once upon a time you could smoke in hotel rooms, in restaurants and even in airplanes. It was when America was suave and cool and dying of emphysema.)
Since those days, it’s gotten to where they’ve outlawed smoking just about everywhere outside of Snoop Dogg’s house. And virtually every hotel in America is smoke-free. As for the hotels I’ve visited in third-world countries, they smell like you cannot only smoke in them, but can also feel free to conduct animal sacrifices.
But while cigarettes are no longer welcome at American hotels, something else is now welcome at more and more hotels — pets.
I know a lot of folks feel like their pets are part of the family and can’t imagine heading to the beach or mountains without their dogs, cats or tarantulas tagging along for the experience. It’s just not my thing. I don’t even believe in having dogs and cats in the house. Heck, I’ve got relatives I don’t want in the house, and some of them are way more advanced than a dog despite having a similar smell.
Of course, when I got married, I got hitched to a woman that came with a cat in the house — a cat that thinks it’s funny that we sleep at nighttime and does everything she can to cure us of that affliction.
While I’m still against having a cat in the house, it’s not my decision. As my wife has pointed out more than once, Sadie was here first. I’d put my foot down and say “It’s me or the cat!” but I know how that would turn out and I don’t like the idea of Sadie sleeping where I used to lie in the bed.
Fortunately, though, my wife does not insist upon taking Sadie on vacation with us. And because we both hate the sound of barking dogs, we actually seek out hotels that are not pet friendly.
This past Friday night, my son and I were on a little getaway and I was shocked to see a lady walking down the hotel corridor with two cats. I hadn’t bothered to check if the hotel was pet friendly, but it has never crossed my mind that someone would bring cats into a hotel room. I realized that of all those hotel stays throughout my life, that was the first time I’d ever seen cats staying at a hotel. Even in Africa, I never saw cats at my hotel. Chickens and pigs, yes, but no cats.
I certainly would never take a dog with me on vacation, but I at least understand the concept. Dogs love everything. You can abuse a dog, and they’d still love you. If you take them for a ride, they jump in with joy. Take them to the beach, and they’re thrilled to splash in the water. They love life.
Cats, though, hate everything. They strut around the house like the whole place is beneath them, so you know they’re going to turn up their nose at the Sea Foam Motel.
The only theory that makes sense is that cat owners don’t trust their felines enough to leave them at home alone. I get that. And I’m always a little worried that when we return Sadie will be sitting in my recliner, smoking a cigar and welcome us with:
“Darn. You’re home. As you can see, I took the liberty of making a few changes around here, and the guest bedroom is now a huge walk-in litter box. Also, you’re out of milk. Oh, by the way, the man has to sleep outside. It’s him or me.”
I keep a hammock in the outside shed, just in case.
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