Hotels and Inns Cats Call Home

Good Morning America

Why should dogs get all the love? From all-Fido-can-fly passes to a new dog-friendly hotels popping up all the time, it's enough to make a cat lover feel purr-fectly ignored. While there are few hotels and inns that allow felines to come along on vacation, there are plenty that house a cat-in-residence, there to ease the pain of guests who miss the kitties they had to leave behind.

Click through the next few pages to see some of the travel industry's cutest feline ambassadors, find out how they spend their days and read a bit more about the hotels and inns where they reside.

Sweetie Pie, Hacienda San Angel, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Janice Chatterton, the owner of the luxury boutique hotel Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is such an animal lover that she started SPCA in Puerto Vallarta and has built it into a shelter for local homeless pets.

The most recent cat to find plush accommodations at Hacienda is Sweetie Pie, who the hotel reports, has taken quite a liking to her surroundings and the guests. She showed up one day in desperate need of food. Although the newest hotel pet, she is quickly becoming a fixture at Hacienda San Angel.

Spooky, Melody's Place, Charlemont, Mass.

For about 11 years, Spooky has graced Melody's Place inn. He was adopted one Halloween through the ASPCA by Innkeeper Melody Whelden, hence his name. Guests love to be greeted on the front steps by Spooky the black cat, reports the inn. He'll even keep them company in their rooms, if they like, and he's always awake bright and early to accompany guests down to breakfast.

During the day he spends his time lounging in the sun on the front porch, or snuggling up with guests as they read and relax at the inn.

Cricket, White Swan Inn, Whitehall, Mich.

Cricket is the newest feline addition at the White Swan Inn. He was rescued by innkeeper Cathy Russell's daughter, Ginger, when Cricket was a kitten. Ginger named her Cricket, she said, because when she was younger she would always hop around the inn.

White Swan in a pet-friendly inn, and Cricket reportedly gets along well with the other pet-guests. She loves to spend her days snuggled up on the laps of guests when they're enjoying the day on the wraparound screened-in porch or joining them for walk around the property.

Alder, Alderbrook Resort & Spa, Union, Wash.

Two hours west of Seattle, Wash. On the south shore of the Hood Canal is the Alderbrook Resort & Spa, home of cats Alder and Brook (see next page for more on Brook).

Alder is a 2-year-old female saved by the resort from the Seattle Humane Society Shelter. The resort said even though she is younger than pal Brook, "she's the boss." The resort itself is completely pet-friendly, and welcomes four-legged friends in all rooms and cottages.

Both kitties spend their days lounging in the lobby by the oversize fireplace, leisurely exploring the grounds and slinking throughout the property. "They are both very relaxed (some might say lazy) and thoroughly enjoy hanging on the couches and chairs in the lobby with guests, wandering on the lawn and cozying up to guests, and greeting folks at the front door."

Reese, Rabbit Hill Inn, northern Vermont

For years, the Rabbit Hill Inn was the home of Zeke, a beloved cat with such a fan base that upon his death, he received cards from all over the country. One past guest of the inn even sent an engraved headstone and another, a painting.

Suffice it to say, Reese, Rabbit Hill's current cat, had big shoes to fill. The inn wasn't looking for a new cat, but five years after Zeke died, Reese showed up to fill his position. She came to the back door and after attempts to find her owners were unsuccessful, she became part of the Rabbit Hill family. The inn said that many guests give her gifts of gourmet treats and toys. She's even frequently lured to participate in guests' photo sessions.

Henry, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis

Known as Henry the Welcome Cat, the resident greeter at the at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on the Caribbean island of Nevis has been at the resort for more than 10 years. He was a stray kitten that was born at the resort, found by the general manager and adopted. The hotel said Henry's become a part of the resort's family.

According to the resort, Henry's always found around the office sleeping in a chair in the sun and greets guests upon arrival, which is how he got his nickname.

Ben, Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas

Ben came to the resort's doorstep seven years ago and has been a fixture at Lake AustinSpa Resort ever since. He was abandoned near the spa and was very friendly, so the staff helped nurse him back to health. He's 12 years old and after all these years quite at home at the 40-room award-winning destination spa in Austin.

The resort said Ben "has a sixth sense and can totally tell" which guests are cat lovers. He follows them to their rooms and sits on their porches, waiting for them to come back from a fitness class or spa treatment. If guests leave their door open, he might even get lucky enough to spend the night. He even made friends recently with a former president who stayed at the resort in the popular Lady Bird Johnson Suite, but the resort wouldn't name names.

Sweetie and Jack, The Artist's Inn and Gallery, Lancaster County, Pa.

Sweetie and Jack spend most of their time with their owners rather than guests, but if the guests request a meeting, the innkeepers are more than happy to oblige. Jan and Bruce Garrabrandt, the inn's owners, said "guests absolutely love scratching Jack's belly, or watching Sweetie run and jump under a lampshade."

Bruce even wrote a book: "My Name is on the Deed but the Cats Own the House."

Over the years we've been able to fix about 20 cats and have adopted out to guests about 12 of those," Jan said. "All in happy homes. And we are very glad to report that we've not had a litter in our neighborhood for two years."

Matilda, The Algonquin Hotel, New York City

According to the hotel's website, in the late 1930s a rather disheveled feline wandered into the Algonquin Hotel searching for food and shelter. Owner Frank Case welcomed the furry traveler to the Algonquin and a tradition was born.

Since then there have been several resident cats at the Algonquin. The current resident -- Matilda -- has the run of the house (except in dining areas and the kitchen) but, according to the hotel, prefers to oversee the comings and goings of the many guests.

Each year, Matilda is given a birthday party, as befits a New York celebrity. A memorable one occurred in 2002 when, while celebrating her seventh birthday with 150 of her closest friends, she jumped on her cake and ran out of the room, leaving a trail of paw prints.

She even has her own email address: matildaalgonquincat@algonquinhotel.com.

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