Dear Sun Spots: Would a reader know what would keep neighbors’ cats off cars? Maybe some spray of something. Thanks. – No Name, Lewiston.

Answer: The Director of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, 55 Strawberry Ave., Lewiston, pointed Sun Spots to information on this topic. We found helpful information on the Web site for the Dumb Friends League in Denver, Colo. The league is a national leader in providing humane care to lost and abandoned animals, rescuing sick, injured and abused animals, adopting pets to new homes, helping pets stay in homes, and educating pet owners and the public about the needs of companion animals. Founded in 1910, it was named after a London, England, animal shelter called “Our Dumb Friends League.” In those days, the term “dumb” was often used to refer to those who were unable to speak.

The mission statement of the Dumb Friends League includes these words: “speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves,” meaning our animal friends.

They point out that when a cat naps on the hood of your car, it’s simply sunning itself in a nice warm spot. To teach a cat to avoid a specific area, make that area unattractive. The best method is to surprise the cat “in the act.” One suggestion is to scatter dry beans, macaroni or birdseed on a metal tray (disposable pie pans or cookie sheets work great). Balance several of the trays around the edge of your vehicle. The weight of a cat leaping onto the surface will upset the tray and the cat will be startled by the noise and by the unsteady, collapsing perch.

Also, crisscross double-faced tape onto a piece of sturdy plastic – either a heavy, plastic drop cloth or a vinyl tablecloth would work well. Drape the plastic over the surface, and secure it with cord, or at least one weighted object, to keep it in position. The sticky tape on the cat’s paws is annoying (without causing pain or panic), and the slick plastic rattles and offers no foothold.

Another solution is to use repellents. Check with any pet supply store or garden suppliers for safe, EPA-approved repellents and follow instructions on the container. Most of these repellents are “based on the simple mothball compound,” so another option is to spread mothballs around your car, including on the car’s roof, or hang them in bags around your car.

You could also try talking to your neighbor about the problem. Emphasize your concern for the cat’s safety, instead of the problems he’s causing, and you’ll have a greater chance of gaining your neighbor’s cooperation. Remember that the cat is your neighbor’s pet, even though he’s a pest when he’s on your property.

Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for a piece of laminate 24 inches by 40 inches for a top of a kitchen table. I hate to buy a whole sheet. Maybe someone would have a leftover piece they are not using. A neutral color would be nice, but would consider others. Looking for a reasonable price. My number is 562-8784. Thank you. – Joan, Dixfield.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, consider contacting a local cabinet maker or installer who might have leftover pieces available.

Dear Sun Spots: We moved back to Maine from Massachusetts and while we were living there during the election, they always published the voting ticket in the local paper the evening before. I’ve noticed since we moved back the local paper does not do that. Is there a reason why they don’t do that? It’s very helpful. Thank you. – Now a Maineiac, Livermore Falls.

Our managing editor noted that the Sun Journal hasn’t published a specimen ballot for years. Many towns have local ballots which would take up a lot of space and unfortunately, the size of the paper doesn’t allow for the ballots to be printed. You can request a sample at your local town office before voting or check the elections division of the Maine Secretary of State Web site for samples,

Dear Sun Spots: We have a Royal Tara tea set (Hunting Scene). It was purchased in 1979. These are in mint condition and may have never even been used. We have original paperwork and receipt. I have gone to Orphan Annie’s and Republic Jeweler and got no leads on this. I have checked online and know I can get replacement parts but we want to sell. We have an almost complete set of this Royal Tara fine bone china tea set that we want to have valued and put on the market to sell. Can you help us? Thank you in advance. – Anna and Dave, Auburn.

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