Catty corner

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The Independent Travel
WHAT should you do with your cat when you go on a short holiday? I asked (Independent Traveller, 9 October). Plenty of advice has arrived.

Sarah Silcox of London suggests the method adopted by her parents-in-law. 'Their technique on disappearing for a weekend is strategically to place a number of bowls of food around the house (on the top of cupboards, behind the sofa, etc) in the vain hope that Smudge the cat will find them at regulated intervals. Whether Smudge follows the food trail in an orderly fashion, or wolfs the lot on a Friday night, is difficult to determine. However, the food always disappears and Smudge has lived to a ripe old age.'

Mrs T B Neville of Aberdeen offers the solution hit upon by her husband and herself: 'It took many years to perfect, and a number of much-loved cats went to the great litter tray in the sky during the interim . . . It is called Grown-up Children Still Living at Home, and is so easy to use.'

Margaret Wall of Sutton Coldfield has several suggestions, including finding a cattery that has big pens with plenty of room for movement, and with something to climb and scratch. 'If none of this suits and money is no object, you should employ a catsitter to stay in your home,' she writes. 'The Cats Protection League (0494 862404) has a register of suitable sitters.' A final suggestion: 'Buy a caravan and take Eppy with you.'

Andy Hurst of Devon says that I underestimate the potential hazards in off-loading a hamster. 'On 18 September,' he writes, 'my girlfriend and I returned home from a three-week tour of America to learn that Dippy, our cute six-month-old Russian dwarf hamster, had become an ex-hamster while being looked after by a friend. I'd be grateful to learn of ways that hamsters can be looked after while their human masters are away.'

Any suggestions? More Pets' Corner next week . . .