Thanksgiving: How to Navigate Your Holiday Travel

Thanksgiving-Blackwell Travel

Can you believe that Thanksgiving in the U.S. is upon us? I can’t!

It seems as if the month of November has been one dramatic event after another, at least for me.

In the U.S., we had a heated (and still dramatic) presidential election.

Personally, I’ve been dealing with my sister having a mild heart attack. Luckily, she doesn’t have heart damage and is on the road to recovery.

I’ve also lost a few loved ones.

The passing of my cousin was and is totally unexpected. I’m still in shock and have been processing my emotions around her death. I feel the urge to grab my backpack and passport and travel for about six months to one year. Yes, I would be escaping. But I feel that travel could help me deal with the tragedy of my cousin’s passing.

But, I digress…

If you’re traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, check out this video about the do’s and don’ts of Thanksgiving travel! [Read more…]

Holiday Travel with Your Pets Doesn’t Have to Cause Chaos

Holiday Travel with Pets-Blackwell Travel

When Benny Met Harriet. Christmas 2009. Sadly, Harriet was put to sleep in May 2014 because she was sick. Benny is still going strong!

According to a national survey of pet owners, nearly 40 percent take their dogs on vacation with them. Ten years ago, it was only 20 percent. And keep in mind that many airlines won’t allow you to ship your dog in cargo.

Ah, the holidays.

If you live away from your family, you may be traveling across the U.S. or to another country to spend time with them. But if you have pets, you may not want to leave them at home, especially if they suffer from separation anxiety.

I remember the first time I flew home for Christmas.

It was 2009, and I was living in Chandler, Arizona and decided to fly home to Parma, Ohio (southwest of Cleveland) for Christmas. I had two cats (still do) and decided that Benny (highly attached to me) would travel with me. CeCe, my other cat, is the epitome of “independent cat” and would stay home.

I took Benny to his veterinarian and secured the proper health documentation along with tranquilizers. Not for me, for him. Ha!

Benny needed a travel regulated carrier, so I bought one. He’s since outgrown it. [Read more…]

Are You Afraid to Travel with Your Cats?

Travel with your cats. You may think that this is crazy advice. But I’m here to tell you that you can take your feline friends with you on vacation.

In September 2007, I moved to Chandler, Arizona. I missed having a pet and my friends told me to get a cat because they’re easy to care for and would be better suited for apartment living when compared to a dog.

In August 2008, I went to the PetSmart in Chandler, Arizona and noticed that they had adoptable animals from a local rescue, Mixed Up Mutts and Shepherds Too. I was confused because the adoptable animals were cats and one kitten, Benny (he’s the black and white cat in the picture) — there were no dogs.

Long story short, I adopted Benny and then in early 2009, I adopted CeCe (she’s the tabby cat in the picture) from the Arizona Humane Society.

For Christmas 2009, I decided to fly back to Ohio to see my family. I had a feeling that CeCe would not enjoy air travel (she was still getting used to me) and decided to hire a pet sitter to watch her and flew back with Benny.

Benny was the perfect airline traveler. He slept during our flight and my fellow travelers commented on how they didn’t even know that my carry-on, which was actually a pet travel carrier, contained a cat. I didn’t think air travel with cats was a big deal, and it wasn’t. See that. You can travel with cats on an airplane!

Keep reading to learn how you can travel with cats. It’s not as difficult as you may think. [Read more…]

How Pets Can Heal You

tabby cat

Image via Wikipedia

My Fellow Students of Life,

I love animals! I grew up with dogs, rabbits, fish, and birds. I never had cats until my adult life. I adopted my black and white cat Benny from Mixed Up Mutts who partners with PetSmart. I adopted my tabby cat CeCe from The Arizona Humane Society. They are a joy to have in my life. More importantly, they’re a good way for me to get and stay grounded. If I’m having an ‘off’ day, I’ll pet one of my cats and immediately shift my energy. The focus is off of me and my issues and onto my cats. Before you know it, my troubles melt away and they aren’t important anymore.

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~George Eliot

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills. ~Voltaire, letter to Count Schomberg, 31 August 1769

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being. ~Henry David Thoreau

If you’d like to get a pet, consider adopting an animal from your local animal shelter. They usually hold special events to promote the adoption of animals from shelters — some accept donations in lieu of an adoption fee. It’s a win-win situation! All shelter animals deserve loving, forever homes. Adopt one today and watch how your new friend will add joy to your life. Adopting a pet can be a life saver in more ways than one.


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Black and White Cats Have a Mind of Their Own

Who else has a black and white cat? My little Benny just turned 1-year old and still acts like a kitten. I caught him chewing on my AC Adapter cord, again. He hasn’t done that since last year. Now I have to buy a new one. Needless to say, he’s been banned from the office. Maybe I expect too much from Benny because I’m used to having dogs. I do miss having a dog.

This is my first and LAST cat! Benny is not independent (clingy), he likes water, climbs on everything, and has debunked every myth about cats that is out there. He’s a cute little guy, but he’s close to being shipped to OH to live with my mom!

Benny is an indoor cat. He has cat trees and a condo. He’s also a traveler. We flew to OH for Christmas 2008. This was a great holiday for him. He received a lot of cat toys from my mom along with a bunch of treats. He also met Harriet (Yorkie-Poo) and PJ (Parakeet). Harriet was good enough to put Benny in his place. After all, he was in HER house! Benny has a good life, better than some kids!

I’ve found out that cats, unlike dogs, are not that trainable. Not-to-mention the fact the lack of obedience classes for cats. Why is this? You can find a ton of programs for dogs, but nothing for cats. It’s very disheartening and frustrating. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have cat training classes?

I would like to hear from you if you have a black and white (Tuxedo) cat. Did your cat chew your cords? If they did, what did you do? If you sprayed the cat with water that won’t work with Benny because he LOVES water! Plus, I don’t believe in this type of training.

Let me know if you have any advice on how to handle/train Benny. I don’t want to take him to the shelter. I guess I could call the organization that I got him from. Of course, they were supposed to check up on us within 90 days of my adopting him. That never happened — it’s now 2009. I adopted Benny in August 2008! If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Please help us….Thank you!

How You Can Travel with Your Pets

Many people travel each year and go home for the holidays. If you have pets, you have a decision to make: do you put Fido or Felix in a kennel or find someone to watch him?

The alternative is to travel with your pets. This can be tricky because some pets travel better than others. But, it may be worth it if you do not have anyone to watch your pet. and avoid costly kennels.

Air Travel

If you plan to travel by air, take your pet to the veterinarian. Some airlines will ask to see a certificate that verifies your pet is healthy. The airline may ask for proof of rabies and distemper vaccinations.

You may want to ask your veterinarian if your pet needs tranquilizers. Some veterinarians will suggest giving your pet Benadryl or nothing at all. If you choose to give your pet a tranquilizer, give them one a few days before you leave. This way you will be able to see how your pet reacts to the medicine.

Make sure you have an airline regulated pet carrier. The size of the carrier will vary from airline to airline. Find a PetSmart Store near you and purchase a carrier that is acceptable by the airlines.

You may want to feed your pet an hour before your flight. Make sure your pet goes to the bathroom before you leave. You do not want any accidents while you’re in the air!

Consider bringing some food and or small animal water feeder with you. Your pet may or may not be hungry or thirsty on your flight, but it’s best to be prepared. Many pets are too nervous to eat or drink and most will sleep for the duration of the flight.

Car or RV Travel

For those who travel via a car or RV, make sure your pet is in it’s carrier and buckled in just like you! After all, you do not want your pet to be “rolling around” as you drive, especially on a winding road.

Every 90 minutes or so, stop at a rest stop to feed your pet. It’s good for you and your pet to stretch your legs and go to the bathroom. If you’re traveling with a cat, make sure you have enough litter for your trip. Carry bags with you so you can put the litter or “doggie doo” in it. Remember to clean up after your pet.

If you plan to stay at a hotel or hotel and resort, make sure they accepts pets! You do not want to show up at your hotel and find out that Fido is not welcomed. Before you book your hotel, ask if they accept pets.

If you must travel with a pet, make sure they will be comfortable. Of course, the best option is to leave them at home. If you cannot do this, take every precaution to ensure that both of you will have a smooth and seamless travel experience.

Traveling with pets does not have to be difficult. It’s kind of like traveling with kids! You still need to bring food, water, treats, and their favorite toys. Happy traveling to you and your pets!

Shocker! Halo Purely for Pets Canned Spot’s Stew is Actual Stew

Not only is Ellen DeGeneres a queen of comedy and talk show host but she’s also part owner of Halo Purley for Pets. Halo touts itself as having the “world’s best natural pet care products.” Their entire line of products for cats and dogs are made with the highest quality ingredients. They are also made with real ingredients. For the skeptics out there, Halo puts their money where their mouth is!

Pet lovers who buy canned food for their cats and dogs usually receive a product that is processed into a brownish/pinkish mush. The ingredients are listed on the label, but can you clearly pick them out? In most cases the only ingredient you see is the broth.

Halo’s canned cat food is not your average cat food. Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe is the “original,” with natural ingredients. That’s right folks. The label reads something like this: chicken, zucchini, yellow squash, celery, chicken broth, carrots, green peas, and other natural ingredients. Can this be canned cat food? Yes, it’s a very healthy and natural meal for your cat or kitten.

Spot’s Stew looks like the stew grandma used to make for Sunday dinner. It even smells like it! Your cat or dog will wipe the plate clean and will bark or meow for seconds! If you want the very best for your best friend, then pickup a couple of cans of Spot’s Stew today. Cats and dogs everywhere give it two “paws” up!

How Pets Can Teach Us Empathy

Pets are great companions and teachers. They love us unconditionally just as we are and do not expect us to change. One lesson pets teach us is empathy. The following excerpt is from “In one study, we found that 3- and 4-year-olds with pets were better able to understand the feelings of other children than those without pets,” Poresky says. He also says there are life lessons to be learned from taking responsibility for a pet. “A dog or cat won’t always do what the child wants them to do, and that can be very important,” he says. “This helps kids learn that there are other perspectives and ways of looking at things.”

Perhaps the world would be a better place if all of us were given a pet to care for when we were kids. Studies show that children who are given pets learn how to understand the feelings of others, learn responsibility, and life from different perspectives. They also learn loyalty and how to selflessly give of themselves. Sometimes these lessons need to be re-learned when we become adults.

My kitten Salem taught me how to practice non-judgment and empathy. Even though his life was short, he will always be with me. Salem had a rough start in life. God only knows how long he sat on the patio of the first floor apartment that is below me. He probably was there at three weeks old; I took him in when he was five weeks old. It was not easy for the both us. The poor thing had issues and so did I. [Read more…]

5 Secrets to Prevent Your Kitten From Biting!

If you just purchased or rescued a kitten, good for you! Depending on how active your kitten is he or she may be a biter! To be fair its normal for kittens to claw and bite. But, it hurts like hell when your precious little one is climbing up your leg or gnawing at your foot! OUCH!

Kittens and cats are predators so its instinctual for them to bite. Even though you provide your kitten with toys, food, and water its instinct is to hunt. Your kitten requires an outlet as it hones its hunting skills. Play time is necessary. Your kitten may like play time to last from 15 minutes to a half hour, three times a day. Do anything you can to burn up the kittens energy. The “fishing” toys are popular. You can drag it in front of your kitten so he can “stalk and play attack” the toy. Consider sock puppets. This way your kitten can distinguish between “flesh” and “non-flesh.”Shop at for all your kitty toys.

5 Secrets to Your Kitten Biting Less

  1. Teach your kitten to enjoy being handled or petted. Scratch your kitten behind the ears. Pet your kitten gently on its head.
  2. Redirect the kitten’s attention. Have many toys on hand.
  3. Yell OUCH and stop playing!
  4. Hire a pet behavior specialist. Visit Web Trail-Pet Behavior to learn more.
  5. Get another kitten! If your kitten has a playmate, he will leave you alone. This is the best solution and it always works.

Useful Links

  1. Perfect Paws. A great resource on how to train your kitten. Good luck!
  2. Good information on how to stop your kitten from biting.
  3. KittyKind. Is a not-for-profit, no-kill, all volunteer rescue located in NY. Offers advice on how to curb your kitten’s biting.

On a personal note, my kitten is very active. Forget about three 15 minute sessions, he can play morning, noon, and night! He likes to run around my apartment. He begins in the living room, runs to the bedroom, goes into the bathroom, and out the other door that leads from the bathroom; it’s a “Jack and Jill” bathroom.

Trying to get him to go to sleep is a challenge. Yes, I know cats are nocturnal creatures. I began to leave the bedroom door open so he can go out into the living room and climb on his “kitty condo.” I’m glad I bought the kitty condo. He loves his “fishing” toys. I have the one attached to his kitty condo and he plays with it. The other “feather” toy on a stick is the one I use to “tickle” him and have him chase it. Also, he loves paper! I give him napkins which he rips apart. He loves his “crumpled” up paper towel which he kicks around like a soccer ball. I did buy him two “spongy” soccer balls which he kicks back and forth. He would probably make a good mascot for a soccer team!

A Marriage of a Traveler and Animal Lover

If you like to travel and love your pet, ask yourself “will my pet be comfortable and happy on this trip?” Some animals, like humans, prefer to stay at home. A “homesick” and possibly motion-sick pet will ruin your trip. You may consider leaving your pet with a friend, relative, or hire a pet-sitter. If you have a dog, consider boarding him or her at a clean, reputable, well-run kennel. If you have a cat, consider boarding him or her at a clean, reputable, well-run cattery. Check your local listings and the internet to find a boarding place that is right for you and your pet. Before you commit to a kennel or cattery, ask for and check references. Your “best friend” will appreciate it and you will have peace of mind.

If you decide to travel with your pet, plan for your pet’s trip as your own. Are you traveling by plane, train, vehicle, RV, bus, or boat? Do you know if you pet will be a welcome vacationer? Are there specific reservations and transportation arrangements to be made? If you stay at a hotel, motel, or campground, check if animals are allowed or if kennels are available. If you will stay with family or friends, make sure you pet is welcomed. You could find yourself in the “dog house” if your pet is not a welcomed visitor!

Pet Travel Tips

Make sure you pet ALWAYS WEARS a collar with complete identification and a license tag. You may consider having your pet implanted with a microchip. To learn more about microchipping, visit Home Again – Always Looking Out For Your Pet.

Pack your pet’s favorite food, snack, and dishes, toys, a cooler of water, litter and litter box, and leash.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian before your trip. Before you book that flight, make sure your pet is well enough to be your travel companion. Have your pet examined and vaccinated, if necessary.

If your pet will travel in a crate or carrier, make sure it is strong, large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around, has a place for food and water, and a litter box. Look for a crate or carrier that is well ventilated, has a leak-proof bottom, and closes tightly. Find a crate or carrier that is right for your pet at Only Natural Pet Store or you can Shop at

If you are planning a trip abroad, check with the consulate or embassy of your destination by visiting them online or ask your travel agent for advice. Health and vaccination regulations vary greatly.

Traveling with your pet can be a rewarding experience. Do your research and contact your veterinarian with any questions you may have. That’s good advice; I’ll use it when I take my kitten to the veterinarian on Saturday.

Happy travels,
~ Rebecca