You guys, a new cat distribution portal has opened in Palm Springs! Located in the Rimrock Shopping Mall at the base of the Araby Trail/Goat Trails, Frisky Business Cat Cafe appeared in January and unlike other portals it has people amenities: delicious coffee, teas, water, and snacks from Aspen Mills Bakery and Chef Tanya’s Kitchen. Most importantly, for $22 you get a beverage of your choice and 45 minutes of cuddles and playtime with 12 adorable, adoptable kitties. Don’t have time for cuddles (you heartless bastard)? A coffee and a nosh after your hike keeps the portal open.

They don’t go out and grab kitties off the street and throw them into a room with you and watch the “fun,” no. That’s called a night at my cousin’s house in Georgia. These cats are from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter (PSAS) and have all been vetted for health conditions, are fixed/neutered, and pre-socialized. Every person that enters the kitties’ comfy and well-decorated living room helps socialize them just a little bit more with scratches and play times. The wall has photos and the history of each kitty, and it’s a bit of a game matching them up.

If you’ve got a cat, these babies will make you a little less lonely for the feline you had to leave at home. AND you have a beautiful and up close view of the mountain that never gets old.

Allergic? You can still grab a coffee without fear of a sneezing fit as the kitties have their own rooms — one for socializing and snoozing in the afternoon sun, and the other windowless. You know, for modesty reasons. The cafe itself is cat and dander free.

And now for story time. I booked a 45-minute visit on a Sunday. It was actually quite busy, both in the cafe and in the kitty room. I went with a couple of friends, and we got our beverages (I had a cold brew with oat milk and it was delish!) and then we went in the cat room where a family of four was enjoying some kitty time. The cats were curious about the newcomers, and there were some leg rubs and somersaults. We all settled into a lounge area and watched the cats interact and bathe in the afternoon sun as it dipped down behind the mountain. And then an extraordinary thing happened. Three bonded kitties that they’d had little hope of rehoming together got adopted! A couple whose two cats died a few months back adopted all three! The 10-year old kitties’ good fortune brought tears to everyone’s eyes. I wiped away one just now at the retelling. I’m such a mush.

On the other side of town and spectrum is Boozehounds, the dog-friendly spot that recently earned a spot in the Michelin Guide.

Welcome to Boozehounds. Photo courtesy of Boozehounds

Although you and your pooch are relegated to the well-decorated atrium and patio, they are separate, and huge areas. The entire restaurant is 7,000 square feet, so there’s plenty of room for everyone.

There are many Palm Springs restaurants that permit dogs, but it’s generally sidewalk dining. While there’s nothing wrong with that, Boozehounds is completely contained, keeping out the distraction and sounds of traffic so for an hour or more you can kiss the rest of the world goodbye. It doesn’t have the spectacular view of Frisky Business, but it does have a very upscale, creative menu, and food options for your dog.

Here was our lineup: an order of fries for the table (plenty for four and oh so good, ask for more ketchup); two orders of garlic noodles (delicious, but our stomachs were chatting — and by chatting I mean close to getting into an argument — at the play we saw after); one fried fish and truffle fries (delicious, he said); and two slightly green-tinged thumbs up on the avocado toast. Although you can’t tell from our orders, they have a robust brunch menu and their dinner options are mostly Asian inspired.

This won’t matter in a minute, but the patio does not have outdoor heaters, so it was a bit chilly after sundown.

And that’s the animal round up for Palm Springs. As a reminder, many of our small hotels and resorts allow you to bring your pooch; I’ve pre-sorted them for you here.

P.S.: It’s almost kitten season. Frisky Business might just be working on something with PSAS so keep an eye out. Kittens need to be socialized, so you can help while participating in their kitten antics! Squeee!!! A must for people who enjoy the Kitten Bowl (over here!).

P.S.S.: If you’re into horses, try Smoke Tree Stables. I don’t think they have a Pony Bowl, but what do I know. I’m a cat lady.

Travel/Food Writer Linda Milks with Bella and Catie on a dog-friendly Palm Springs vacation.

Palm Springs is a well-known doggie haven. Many hotels, restaurants, and shops happily welcome and even indulge our four-legged friends. So when we recently had an opportunity to explore Palm Springs with our dogs, we were excited. Bella (Linda Milks’ feisty white Maltese/Lhasa Apso) and Catie (Sue and Todd Montgomery’s friendly black Cocker Spaniel) were equally enthusiastic. While they are both “senior” dogs, they still love to travel — mainly because they love all the snacks along the way.

CATIE:  I love traveling with my Mom and Dad. I was so worried when I saw them put their suitcases in the car. I thought they were going to leave me behind, but “bow wowsy”—  they put me in the car and I got to go too.  I was even more excited when my doggy pal, Bella, hopped in the backseat.

BELLA:  I usually get left at home when Mom goes on a trip, but it didn’t happen this time. I was so happy to see you, Catie. I heard we were going to some wonderful small hotels in Palm Springs, and when we pulled up to Talavera, I knew this was going to be great. When we opened the door, there was my very own guest dog bed and some tasty treats. The bathroom was huge so that’s where my Mom put the special dog bowls they set out for me. I could look out the door to the hot tub in the back area that was all enclosed with a bamboo fence, making it my own private playground.

Bella settling in for her stay at the Talavera, a dog-friendly boutique hotel in Palm Springs.

This hotel is small and the rooms are all very private. There was only one other room next to the pool. They left their door open, so, of course, I went exploring to see just who they were. I guess they like dogs because they wanted to pet me. (I do like attention!)

Katie with her own welcome sign at Avanti in Palm Springs

CATIE: I was thrilled that our hotel, Avanti Palm Springs, was so welcoming to me. There was even a sign at the front door with my name on it. The setting was quiet and nicely landscaped with a lovely pool and hot tub. My Dad walked me all over and I felt right at home. Our room was stylish (yes, I may be a dog, but I still like style) and comfort. We even had a kitchen where Dad could concoct snacks for me.


The pool at AVANTI in Palm Springs

BELLA:  Now let’s talk about the yummy food we ate in Palm Springs.

Swordfish Tacos at Azucar is an ideal lunch.

CATIE: Yep, we went to so many great restaurants and sat on their outside patios. Everywhere we went there were water bowls and lots of snacks.  Our first lunch was at Azucar, a welcoming place with inventive cuisine (as my Mom, the food writer, would say). This restaurant is located at La Serena Villas, a luxurious boutique hotel. Mom and Dad and Linda had drinks and delicious appetizers and swordfish tacos. (I know they were delicious because I got some too.)

Cioppino at Jakes, one of dog-friendliest,locally-owned restaurants in Palm Springs.

BELLA: Catie, did you know that the first night’s restaurant, Jake’s, was named after the owners’ dog? Do you think we will ever get a restaurant named after us? Bruce and Chris, the owners, were so nice to us, and I loved meeting their new dog, Jackson. But more than that, I loved the bites we got from that giant meatball your Dad ordered. The shrimp that our Moms gave us was pretty tasty, too. I didn’t think my mom could finish that big bowl of Cioppino, but she did. Maybe it’s because we helped her.

Copely’s local- owned and pup-friendly restaurant is a Palm Springs favorite.

CATIE: Bella, have you ever eaten at a five-star restaurant?  Well, Copley’s was a first for me. And we were both treated like the princesses we are. The setting was magical, and I loved sampling some of our humans’ fabulous fare, such as Dad’s Mizo Glazed Scottish Salmon and Linda’s Slow Roasted Duck Breast. I was especially impressed to learn that this chic, historic site was Cary Grant’s guesthouse during the 1940s. (I know about Cary Grant because I always love watching him with Audrey Hepburn in “Charade.”)

The epic margarita flight at Tac/Quila in Palm Springs

BELLA: Catie, we sure had a great lunch the second day (and that means lots of treats off our parents’ plates). We tried Tac/Quila, home to modern Jalisco-style cuisine and, according to our parents, the best margarita flight ever. Catie, didn’t you just love the bites of beef you got from the fajitas? The pork from Mom’s al Pastor made me beg for more.

Breakfast or brunch at Palm Springs legendary Sherman’s is not to be missed.

CATIE: The last morning in Palm Springs, remember that breakfast at Sherman’s, a very famous New York-style deli and noshing spot for dogs and humans alike? While the humans had scrumptious egg dishes (like my Mom’s lox and scrambled eggs), we had special snacks and bowls of fresh water. And then Mom and Dad ordered yummy pastrami sandwiches to take home.  (Hey, I love pastrami too.)

Bella exploring at Bones and Scones in Palm Springs

BELLA: We also got to go to some very fun pet stores. I loved Bones & Scones because they gave us treats and Mom bought me more treats (like pumpkin and peanut butter biscuits) to take home.  This store specializes in making healthy and organic dog food, which is very important for us senior pups so we can stay at the top of our games.


Catie showing off her new pink halter at Posh Pet Care in Palm Springs.

CATIE: My Dad bought me a bright pink halter at Posh Pet Care. This was another special pet shop with lots of toys and dog outfits. (I am a bit voluptuous, but they even had sweaters that fit me just fine.)

The owners of Boozehounds giving Catie a tour of their new expansion which will include a play area for dogs.

BELLA: Catie, I think we should tell them about Boozehounds.  This bar and restaurant will open soon in Palm Springs, and it will be a wonderful destination where dogs can take their humans. We met the founders, Jimmy McGill and Steve Piacenza, and they loved us.

CATIE: Well, who wouldn’t love us?  We are so cute and, Bella, you only nipped at the owners’ feet once.

Mixologist, Justin Gordon, making dog parents happy at Boozehounds in Palm Springs.

BELLA: Wow! That mixologist, Justin Gordon, sure seemed to make our parents happy. Those drinks were so colorful, and they “oohed” and “aahed” about them. Maybe we can come back again when they have the play area set up for dogs while our parents have cocktails.

Final note from dog parents:

Our doggies were treated very well on this trip, although they were exhausted when we got home after all their antics in Palm Springs. We had so much fun with them, and we definitely encourage other dog lovers to take their pups to this amazing dog-friendly destination. And make sure you stay in a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel (PSPSH), as we did. Many of these charming hotels welcome dogs.


Story provided by Linda Milks and Susan Montgomery.