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Are you OK in there?

For days now, Tracy Venables has been observed carrying ice cubes and cat food to the front door of a neighbor's house in Bristol, England, shoving them through the letter slot, and then returning home. An odd sort of behavior, no? It is, she readily admits. But she's planning to stop just as soon as she can retrieve her pet feline. The animal apparently slipped into the house unnoticed and became trapped when the neighbor locked up and left on a vacation trip. Later, a search found the cat, visible through a window - sound asleep . Tracy appealed to the police for help but was told they lacked authority to open the door. "I just hope our neighbor has gone for a week and not months," she told journalists. "It's absolutely infuriating because [my pet] is so close, but we cannot get to her."

Hand me that sponge: How cleaning house has evolved

Just as most people pick up food-preparation skills by watching their mothers cook, so too - apparently - do they learn to clean house. That is one of the findings of the Spring Cleaning Survey conducted for the Soap and Detergent Association, a trade group. It found that 56 percent of respondents say they clean "like mom." Responses were drawn from a roughly equal number of women and men, with 62 percent of the former following in their mothers' footsteps, compared to 50 percent of the latter. On the other hand, here are some of the ways respondents said they most differ from the way their mothers cleaned:

I follow a different routine 32%
I clean less frequently 17%
I have more modern conveniences 13%
There's a wider variety of cleaning products today (tie) Cleaning today is easier (tie) There's no difference 10%
Someone else cleans for me (tie) I choose different brands 6%
Cleaning products today are better 1%
Don't know of any differences 13%


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