Guest Post: Cool Facts about a Famous Cat
*Avalon was a movie star. He played the first victim in the film adaptation of my short story The Strangers Outside. Cats are known to be uncontrollable on a movie set, but Avalon did exactly what was expected of him. The crew thought this was highly amusing and took advantage of the opportunity to film Avalon from as many angles as possible: lying down, standing, jumping, moving around. Avalon was ready to perform.
*Since Avalon's performance in The Strangers Outside, he has also appeared in a music video, and now he's cast to appear in the film adaptation of my short film script Next to Her where he will play a ghost cat that visits an old woman.
*He also had a major appearance in my story A Good Man. His part? A vampire cat that bit other kittens instead of humans.
*Like most cats, Avalon was picky about where he vomited. Many cats would choose the bed or the carpet. Avalon, on the other hand, always aimed for... my guinea pig's head. As soon as he felt a hairball mounting, he ran as quickly as he could towards the guinea pig's cage and puked his heart out.
*Avalon spoke a few words of French. They were well-pronounced meows that coincidentally resembled the French vocabulary, but it had people fooled every time.
Whenever Avalon was hungry, he had a way of calling me that sounded like a French child’s relentless chanting of Maman. Maman. Maman. "Is your cat calling you Mom?" friends or family members often asked.
Returning from the kitchen with a full bowl of food, I’d ask him, "Qui veut manger?" (Who wants to eat?) Avalon would trot off after me saying, "Moi. Moi. Moi." (Me. Me. Me.)
And he was a real fashionista too. Whenever I asked him, "How do you like my new dress?" I got the response, "Wow."
Some cats need nine lives to make a difference. Avalon only needed one.
From Amazon bestselling author Vanessa Morgan, Avalon is the heartwarming and once-in-a-lifetime love story of a girl and her neurotic Turkish Van cat.
With humor, the author details how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. Avalon was so incorrigible that even her landlord ordered her to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon's demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline, and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.
By turns jubilant and deeply moving, Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.
Purchase links for Avalon
Vanessa Morgan is an author, screenwriter, and blogger. Two of her works, The Strangers Outside and A Good Man, have been turned into films. Her short film script Next to Her is currently in pre-production. When she's not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats (http://travelling-cats.blogspot.com). Avalon has appeared in several of her books and films.
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Ignoring the neighbors’ cats had diminished Avalon's jealousy, but with four more beings in the apartment demanding my devotion, Avalon's reality was still a far cry from his personal utopia, and new pet peeves were routinely added to his usual problem-seeking behavior.
Small changes often caused major disturbances. When we removed a DVD from the cupboard, or put a pen on the living room table that he wasn’t used to seeing there, Avalon pitched himself near the problem area and vocalized his complaints as if he was a muezzin calling to prayer. He only stopped if the space returned back to normal.
Intelligent and calculating as he was, Avalon had also developed a technique to prevent Ballon and Tigris from using his litter boxes. Each time he heard the scratch scratch scratch in the litter, he settled into attack mode behind the bathroom wall, wiggled his behind, and leapt onto the other cat as soon as it emerged, making it jump. It worked every...single... time. Proud, Avalon walked away from the crime scene with his nose pointing airwards.
Borat, our guinea pig, was initially the best one off, but ended up the most miserable. What kept him safe at first was Avalon’s fear of rodents. Cats may be considered deadly predators, killing a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year in the United States alone, but whenever Borat had free range inside the apartment, Avalon went in a large circle around him, avoiding him at all cost.
Eventually, Avalon ferreted out a way to make Borat twinge in distress whenever he approached. It started when I taught Avalon not to throw up on the bed and carpets. Those lessons must have been meaningful, because Avalon didn’t vomit in those places anymore. Instead he aimed for the guinea pig's head. As soon as he felt a hairball mounting, Avalon ran as fast as he could toward Borat's cage, leaned in, and puked his heart out.
Around three o’clock that night, Avalon was fed up with the strange man in his bed. He plonked his rear down on Gilles’ pillow, complaining fretfully in his ear while tapping him on the face.
After nearly an hour of incessant wailing and poking, more drastic measures were required. The new solution: pushing Gilles out of bed.
Climbing back under the covers wasn’t an option. Unable to sleep, Gilles got up. "I guess I didn't pass the test."
"Give Avalon some time. Maybe he was just irked because you took his side of the bed."
But Gilles had already understood that this wasn't going to be a one-time event.
For several minutes, Gilles and Avalon sized each other up. Then Gilles said, "I’d better leave the two of you alone now. It’s clearly what the little guy wants."
I swear I could see Avalon smirking when Gilles put on his jacket and left.
Instantly, Avalon leapt onto me, and compensated for the evening before. He entered a kiss-induced trance. This cat was all about exclusivity, and when granted that exclusivity, his love was immense.
"Are you really that happy that Gilles is gone?"
In reply, Avalon looked at me with swoony eyes and purred loudly, then swatted out his paw to urge me to continue to pet him, which I did.
A phone call interrupted our tender moment. It was Gilles.
"There won't be any train to Brussels for hours," he said. "Is it okay if I come back to your place for a while?"
"Of course." His return would offend Avalon, but I couldn’t possibly leave Gilles outside in the rain for several hours.
As soon as Gilles appeared at the front door, Avalon’s pupils widened to a pitch black.
Let's see who's the boss here, he seemed to be thinking.
Being a cat of action, Avalon went through his usual attention-seeking routine: making a selection of irritating noises, scratching the wallpaper, and pushing objects to the ground.
When that didn't work, Avalon opened Gilles' overnight bag and threw out a piece of clothing. His eyes so dark and evil they could be gateways to hell, Avalon stared at his adversary and waited for a reaction. He then pulled out a box of gel wax. Again, he looked up at Gilles to make sure he understood that all this bungling was meant to get a message across. A third object followed, then a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, until there was nothing.
Hell-bent on winning the game, Avalon took Gilles' coat in his mouth and towed it toward the front door. There, he used his right paw to tap the keys hanging from the wooden doorframe.
Avalon’s message couldn’t be any clearer: there was room for only one man in my life. A feline one.