Danke! I generally go once a year, for 3 - 4 weeks. My husband won't be coming with us, because we don't like leaving Jamie that long with a cat sitter, and my husband finds it boring. He doesn't like to travel. Sometimes we go away for a week to places that aren't too far: the Bavarian Forest, Austria, Hungary, Britain, or Belgium, and hire a cat sitter (usually a friend's teenaged [now 18] daughter, who loves the solitude - we give her $100, complete Internet access, and the user's instructions for the VCR, DVD player and stereo, and bring back a souvenir), and have my mother-in-law stop by every day to check on JC and cuddle him. Another problem is that I have to stick to regular school vacations, and my husband's employer gives first preference to people with kids during the school vacations, so it is very difficult for him to take time off when I have off. How often do you get back to Germany? Who takes care of all your cats when you're away?