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With less than 36 hours till we leave for New York I really should be packing, not sitting in my red room procrastinating like this. I’ve been following the temperatures in NYC on my phone. They call it Spring  – 1 or 2 degrees! Any outfits I have for weather like that involve thermal underwear and polar fleece. The X Ray fashionistas of Manhattan will be underwhelmed.

The prospect of fostering a cat with HIV looms on the horizon like one of those glittering waves that might provide a thrilling ride or a punishing thrashing on the sand. What if the cat hates me? Or I warm to it and want to bring it home to Australia, which will be impossible. Apart from our ridiculous customs regulations, Jonah would have a total meltdown if I brought another feline into the house.

Fostering a cat in NYC is almost as complicated adopting a child. I’ve had to agree to a “background check”, which presumably means a police check. This most probably means they’ll discover I was fined $5 for Careless Driving when I was 15. It wasn’t Careless Driving anyway. I was just trying to find out if it’s possible to kiss a boyfriend while driving him home.

Then, of course, there was the time my so-called friend goaded me into stealing an eraser (NB mustn’t call them rubbers in the US) from Woolworths. I was about eight years old, and felt so guilty afterwards I chewed it up and swallowed it. That probably won’t show up in the background check, though, because no policemen were involved. Raspberry-scented, transparent erasers (rubbers) don’t taste that bad. And they probably have zero calories. What a great title for my next book :The Scented Eraser Diet.

There was last minute frisson over the Pet Friendly apartment. A contract arrived saying I’d need written permission to keep a pet there. I was almost relieved to have the perfect excuse not to foster a cat. But then the nice girl representing the apartment owners emailed back and said it was okay after all.

Once Lydia and I settle into the apartment, we have to be interviewed by the Cat Shelter to make sure we are the sort of people who are going to be good cat foster parents. This makes me even more nervous than the “background check”. What if our interrogator is an astute judge of character who can tell that once upon a time I wasn’t a cat person?

But I am cat person now, I’ll plead. Felines have changed my life. I owe them so much. Plus I know how to give them pills. Well, I know how to give Jonah his daily half tablet of antipsychotic.

But then she’ll look at me with her cat-like eyes and say it’s well known people are like their pets. So what am I doing with a cat who needs antipsychotic drugs?


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