There's still a fair amount of work to be done in the flat. Try to get the kitchen sorted, make the spare room usable, put my Doctor Who DVDs into chronological order. And we want to get a cat. Now there are various ways of doing this (La Nuova used to run a "cute cat in desperate need of a home" feature every week) but we eventually settled on Subito.it, an online equivalent of the Exchange and Mart which led us to a cattery in Campodarsego, a small town on the outskirts of Padua. A town, it seems, that is almost impossible to reach by public transport. They also seem to have no bus service at all. As we trudge the last two kilometres on foot, on one of the hottest days of the year, I start to think that these cats had better be suitably grateful.
We want a black cat of course. Not for any particular nefarious or sorcerous reason, but just because we wear a lot of black. However, the only one on offer - a kitten of 3 months, described as furbo ('crafty') - really doesn't want to know us. I pick him up, he scrabbles away furiously, I let him drop before any major arteries can be severed. Frankly, he's blown his chance. His brother, however, is possibly the nicest cat in the world. He just wants to be cuddled and have a good old purr. But he's still a kitten. He wants to be running around doing mad stuff and breaking things. He's not ideal for a flat.
Elsewhere, Caroline finds a modestly friendly older kitten. He shows no objection to being picked up. He seems to love it. In fact he seems to love it so much that he never wants to let go and his claws are locking on. Caroline is oblivious but I notice that he's actually drawn blood. Her upper arm is bleeding. In fact she's bleeding on the cat. Not just on a dark part either, but on the white bits. We detach him, and set him down; hoping that nobody will notice.
The final one is an adult of 18 months. Her previous owner has died so, from being an only cat with an elderly lady owner, she finds herself in a relatively confined space and surrounded by a host of strange and noisy felines for the first time in her life. She seems gentle and good natured, and yet terribly sad...
It has to be one of them...but which one...?
And so it was that I found myself this evening walking to the Festa di Liberazione, the annual celebration of the Refounded Communist Party, resplendent in my best Che Guevara T-shirt and carrying a shocking pink cat basket. I think I cut a bella figura.