A police force could become the first in the country to introduce cats in the fight against crime, after a girl wrote to the chief constable.
Five-year-old Eliza contacted Durham Police chief Mike Barton suggesting cats would be good at listening out for danger and rescuing people from trees.
She received a reply saying he would pass the idea on to an inspector.
The force has now confirmed it will consider using cats in some sort of role.
Eliza's letter read: "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 are stuck."
Mr Barton's reply, which included a drawing of his cat, thanked her for the suggestion.
Inspector Richie Allen, of the dog support unit, said: "I can confirm the force is looking into recruiting what we believe to be the first UK police cat.
"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."