Delighted as I was to see appropriate reporting of the rise in power of Evie the cabinet cat (Cat-inet office: felines are taking over , G2, 9 April), I was sorry that, in concentrating on her and Larry, no attention was paid to the most powerful Whitehall cat, Gladstone (aka @TreasuryMog). Apart from showing far greater political acumen than any of his human counterparts, he manages to combine a healthily disrespectful commentary on political developments with running a weekly online yoga class, occasional quizzes, a very valuable cats lost-and-found service and memorials for those cats who, in his words, have “gone over the rainbow bridge”. A multitasker for our times – and also an efficient mouser.
• Kim Newman (Exposing children to horror films isn’t the nightmare you think it is , theguardian.com, 10 April) ignores the decades of sensitive classification analysis, expertise, research and advice by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) into age-appropriate categories, since the time when “H” signalled that this treat really was for adult minds.
(BBFC examiner, 1984-2000), London
Feline body language
• When Nils Pratley writes, “We won’t weep for Branson” (Business view , 12 April), he might be expressing the view of the business world, but can he profess to be speaking for rail users on the West Coast line? In my experience of travelling the country by train, no other operator comes close to Virgin for long-distance travel in terms of punctuality and customer service. I will be sorry to see Virgin lose the West Coast franchise, especially given the Department for Transport’s track record on awarding rail franchises.
• Aditya Chakrabortty (11 April) quotes the health secretary, Matt Hancock, as saying voting Tory is now “something people start to do when they get their winter fuel allowance”. I have been in receipt of the winter fuel allowance for many years and have never voted Tory.
• Peter McKenna (Letters , 12 April) is right that three years’ residence allows you to apply for Irish citizenship. But it’s a convoluted process and, at €1,125, not cheap, as my Aberdonian partner (living in Ireland since 1991) recently discovered. Scotland didn’t even vote for Brexit.
Focus on the Human-Animal Bond. “Dogs and cats have broken down the walls of our hearts. There haven’t been comparable domesticated species in 5,000 years.” For Dr. Becker, it’s clear that pets and people have evolved to benefit each other. He explains, “When you’re petting them, you both get this massive release of oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and a decrease in cortisol. It’s a reciprocal biochemical spa treatment.” As they age, it can be easy to take pets for granted. Make time for a little human-animal bonding every day.
• Maybe the man rummaging through Saturday’s papers was looking for one with Friday evening’s football results (Letters , 11 April).
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