Dear Readers: Summer is almost here, and it’s VACATION TIME! There are a lot of things to consider before leaving on vacation. Here are some hints to help protect your home and valuables while away:

* DO NOT post upcoming vacation information on social-media sites! Daily photos of you on vacation also can let thieves know that your home is sitting empty. Post them when you are home.

* Set one or two lights on a timer inside the house while you are gone.

* Stop newspaper and mail delivery (if it’s going to be more than a few days), or ask a neighbor to collect them.

* Park a car in the driveway. It makes it look like someone is home. Be sure the car is locked, with no valuables in it. If you are going for a while, consider having a neighbor or family member move the car from one side of the driveway to the other occasionally, or park their car there.

* Make sure all doors, windows and pet doors are locked! Also, disconnect the automatic garage-door opener.

* Tell a trusted neighbor or relative that you will be gone, and leave emergency contact information with him or her. A neighbor who can keep an eye on your home will be the first to notice suspicious activity while you are gone and call police.

-- Heloise


Dear Readers: Linda Brock of Canton, Ohio, sent a pet photo of her year-old calico cat, Misty, watching the water run from the faucet into the sink. Linda says: “Misty is fascinated by the running water from the faucet. She sits on the bathroom sink and watches the bubbles as they disappear in the drain.”

To see Misty and the disappearing bubbles, visit my Web site, www., and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read your column in the Ventura County (Calif.) Star regarding the difficulty putting pillowcases on pillows that are a lot thicker these days.

I always turn the pillowcases inside out, put my arms inside to the far corners and then grab the pillow and pull the case over the pillow. It is much easier that way. -- Betty, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: A reader wrote that her cat barfs a lot. Mine did, too, usually immediately after eating, but I think I have found the solution. I spread her daily ration of food into many small servings throughout the day. After feeding her, I close her in the room for about 15 minutes (to protect my gold carpet in case she gets sick). After following this plan for about three months, I find her upchucks to be rare. -- Anne, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I have read the column for many years! Another use for tissue and similar boxes: I rescue domestic rats, and they love these boxes for hide houses. -- Bonnie from Karni Mata Rat Rescue, via e-mail

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate