Tuesday 21 October 2014

A Fan Posts You a Cat

Signs of a problem: courier arrives with ‘Pets You Like’ written on his van.

The symptoms: confusion; excitement; despair.

You’ve made a big public show of how much you want a cat. In fact, your author identity is practically founded on your love of cats. From your debut novel, Cats Rule the Earth to your recent offering, I’d Marry a Cat if I Could, your books are distinctly feline-themed.

So, when a fan decides to make your dream come true and inject a cat into your pet-free life, what could possibly go wrong?

Generally, cat lovers without cats suffer some form of circumstance that prevents cat acquisition, otherwise they would go out and adopt one of the many cats needing homes. This could be as simple as living on the top floor of a high-rise flat, being in rented accommodation or not having enough money to feed a cat. However, it could be something more significant such as having a lover who goes into anaphylactic shock whenever he or she hears purring.

A fan who posts an author a cat has some serious deficiencies in the forward-planning department.

Should a parcel delivered by a courier contain a cat, first, meet and greet the kitty. Next, find out if there is a return address handy. Inspect the sender’s name. Check that the cat hasn’t come from any of your competitors – the last thing you need is your nemesis getting a spy cat into your life. If you recognise the name of a fan, then it is likely that the cat is a genuine gift and not a spy.

You will need to liaise with the fan about the appropriateness of his or her offering. When contacting the fan, tread carefully. It can be considered rude not to accept a present but it’s better than keeping a cat in unsuitable surroundings. Talk to the fan rationally and explain that you are not in a position to adopt a cat. He or she will probably understand.

You may find that the fan intends to support the cat financially. Although this may sound appealing, it is best not to encourage the type of fan that would post an unsolicited mammal.

Do not return the cat. The sender is clearly not capable of thinking in the best interests of the animal. See if you can find a good home for the cat, or consult a cat rescue centre.

If, however, you are able to provide the cat with a good home, then you should grab this opportunity (not the cat) by its ears. Welcome the kitty into your life with open arms.

The fan probably expects you to call the cat after him – don’t.

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