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Colonel Meow, the cat with the longest fur in the world and the brooding face of an evil genius, has sadly passed away.

Pet shows Britain is littered with brave owners

Although it was the moggies who were up for awards at the weekend's Supreme Cat Show at the Birmingham NEC, I reckon the owners who took them there probably deserved a prize … for bravery.

Ruan Pienaar will be at the heart of all that South Africa do today

Brian Smith: Boks are so brutal I’ve known players pleading to come off...

Coaches view: Playing the Boks you find yourself up against big blokes who don’t like you

Beast of Bodmin</br>
We love a big cat (see also the Surrey Puma) but none more than that stalking Bodmin. Proof eludes those who seek it, but dumb sheep across Cornwall remain fearful.

Wildlife: A beastly beasts hall of fame

The often-disgusted residents of Tunbridge Wells are apparently also terrified after sightings of a ginger "Bigfoot" lookalike with demonic eyes, The Sun reports. A walker recorded the latest contact with the hairy giant in woods beside the Kent town, giving it a place in a (totally bogus) hall of fame featuring British beasts as diverse as mermaids, monsters and big cats. Here are three of the most celebrated.

She might be 40, but Hello Kitty is one cool cat

For a cat who's nearing 40, Hello Kitty shows no signs of slowing down – something her global legions of fans will surely be pleased about.

Man who put cat in tumble drier jailed

A man who put his cat in a tumble drier and posted the footage on YouTube has been jailed.

Cat killed after firework strapped to its back explodes

A cat was killed when a firework which was strapped to its back exploded.

Lolcat: Teh Exhibishun – picture preview

The internet meme inspires yet another art show

Reports of stray or unwanted cats have risen by a third in three years

Cruel for cats: Hard times for humans lead to an epidemic of stray pets

People are letting cats breed to sell the kittens, but if they aren't sold they are often just abandoned

Owner reunited with lost cat six years on

The owner of a cat which disappeared six years ago has spoken of her delight and surprise after finding him walking in the street.

Aww bless, cute pictures make you clever

A real study by proper scientists has shown that taking breaks to look at fluffy kittens improves concentration.

A cuteness-triggered positive emotion prompted by images of baby animals. The effect is associated with taking motivation from anything that gives you happiness, pleasure, or joy.

It's Friday - need some help concentrating at work? Have a look at this picture...

Japanese study shows looking at cute pictures of baby animals can improve concentration

Slimline pets now fighting fit after PDSA competition

A group of pets has gone from fat to fit after taking part in an animal slimming competition.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has emerged with a new set of heavy-rimmed spectacles

An unbiased appraisal of Michael Gove's new specs

Who's the coolest member of the Coalition? Jazz fan Ken Clarke? Mick Jones's cousin Grant Shapps? The competition, with respect to Danny Alexander and Oliver Letwin, isn't too fierce.

Ex put up with Justin Lee Collins' abuse because he was 'love of her life', court hears

The ex-girlfriend of comedian and TV presenter Justin Lee Collins was on the verge of tears today as she said she had put up with the abusive relationship because he was the love of her life.

From London to Edinburgh, Mice are causing chaos

Vermin: Mighty mice are having their moment in the sun

"The mice at this station have been attacking customers," reads a sign at the entrance to Farringdon Tube station in London. "Please place the bottom of your trousers into your socks to avoid being a victim of the Farringdon mice."

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?