A girl who wrote an adorable letter to her local police force asking them to consider employing cats as well as dogs was overwhelmed when she got a reply.
Eliza Adamson-Hopper, five, listed the reasons she felt cats would be just as useful in her letter to Durham Police.
She received a reply from the Chief Constable Michael Barton, a self-confessed cat lover, praising her "good idea" and even drawing her a picture of his own cat Joey.
In her letter Eliza, from County Durham, drew a picture of a policewoman, dog and cat, wrote: "I wondered why you don't use cats as well as dogs?"
She continued: "A police cat would be good as they have good ears and can listen out for danger.
"Cats are good at finding their way home and could show policemen the way.
"Cats are good at climbing trees and hunting and could rescue people that were stuck.
"My dog is friends with my cat and I think a police cat would be be friends with your police dogs. Please will you think about getting police cats? Thank you."
Mr Barton's handwritten reply to Eliza read: "Thank you for your letter suggesting the police should use cats as well as police dogs.
"I am going to ask my inspector who is in charge of police dogs to think about your good idea.
"I've always liked cats and I've drawn my cat Joey on the back of the letter (I'm not a very good drawer though!)
"Thank you, Michael Barton."
Eliza's mum, social worker Cheryl Adamson, 33, said she agreed with her daughter that cats should get jobs in the police force.
"It was a bit of a shock to get a handwritten reply - but not surprising," she said.
"She's just got loads of questions all the time. She's always asking questions and asked me why don't they have police cats.
"I told her to then write a letter to the police and the response is brilliant, especially the picture of Mr Barton's cat Joey.
"But everyone is tickled by her response - I was howling with all her questions.
"The officers are all very busy so it was great to get a response. I mean, they didn't have to."
The family own a horse, cat and dog, whose friendship inspired Eliza to pitch the idea.
Adamson added: "Eliza is animal crazy and this inspirational act may lead for cats to get jobs within the force in the future.
"A lot of people nowadays send emails and text messages so to get a response in a letter for a little girl is so exciting - I'm so proud of her."
Inspector Richie Allen from the Dog Support Unit said the force is "considering" incorporating cats into their fight against crime - although their designated role is still undecided.
"I can confirm the force is looking into recruiting what we believe to be the first UK police cat," he said.
"Their duties and responsibilities have not yet been agreed but if nothing else they will become the force mascot.
"Of course if it smells a rat we'll expect it to catch it."
Inspector Allen also sent colouring materials and a Paws Up calendar for Eliza and the reply has inspired her to raise charity cash to buy coats for retired PC dogs.
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