The cat cafe is so 2016. You can sip some overpriced coffee while shuffling after an annoyed feline that’s been harassed and snapchatted by a dozen millennials in the past hour. Or you can retreat to your own private cat pad at a rental where a warm whiskered face comes free with purchase.
I had rented a waterfront room in a traditional Dutch canal house for two reasons: the beautiful views of Amsterdam and the resident cat. The building’s old windowsills leaned askew on its facade, and inside, a tightly spiraled wooden staircase curled upwards alongside a rope bannister. Puma, the sweet tuxedo cat, achieved the impossible task of adding to this 400-year-old home’s boundless charm. Better yet, he taught me a few things about the pursuit of purrs while traveling.
Whether it’s a country farm populated by friendly goats, a beachfront villa with a resident watchdog, or—in my case—an urban home with a feline host, vacation rentals with on-site animals offer a special kind of homey pizzaz. Many of these places are pet-friendly, so you can BYOB (bring your own beast) if that’s how you like to travel. I had found my apartment on HomeAway®, which offers more pet-friendly properties than any other booking site on the planet.
“But what about allergies?” some might ask. Simply read the description of the property or just message the property owner if you’d like to know if there’s an animal. Property owners are well aware that not all travelers live and breathe for big, fluffy dog hugs. Allergies are considered and catered to when necessary. Puma kept to himself, and I only occasionally ran into him in the common living area when I left or returned to the house.
It’s the cat.
No need to scoop the box. Property managers or owners are always close by to take care of animals’ needs. Puma’s owner, Willem, who occupies an apartment above the one I rented, told me he would be traveling during my stay. But human guests—like pets—require care, so Willem’s son took over hosting duties in addition to looking after my clawed housemate, Puma.
But if you want to get more involved with the animals onsite, look for a farm stay. At this century-old farm in Washington State, for example, guests may feed farm animals and gather eggs.
Amsterdam has an array of feline-themed attractions, from De Poezenboot, a cat shelter in a houseboat, to Katten Kabinet, a museum of cat art. While these worthy sites may be enough to scratch your cat itch, they pale in comparison to a one-on-one cat experience in your temporary home-away-from-home. Whether you get homesick for your fur kid while on the road or you simply love spending time with animals, a rental with a pet is the solution. To get your animal fix while traveling, search for pet-friendly vacation rentals on HomeAway, and read the property description to see if there are animals onsite.