Updated May 4, 2017.
Yet, my cat from hell taught me several important lessons about life and love. The most important of those lessons is that love is a decision - you decide to love and take care of someone, no matter what.
When Avalon followed me home for the first time, I had no idea that reminding myself of that decision would be so challenging. Describing my cat as jealous and possessive would be too mild. He wanted to be with me at all times.
When another pet tried to approach me, it became a matter of life and death. If I came back home after a few hours, he looked gaunt as if my short absence meant that I was never to return.
On top of that, he vomited on my guinea pig, vocalized every complaint with a set of decibel heavy meows, stole from the fridge, scared visitors half to death, and threw my dates out by towing their coats toward the front door and tapping the keys hanging from the door frame.
But, no matter how intolerable he was, I kept to my decision to love Avalon. After all, if he behaved like a cat from hell, it was probably because he had been deprived of love early on in his life.
After several years, my patience paid off. Avalon turned into the gentle cat he was meant to be. He even became a feline celebrity. He landed a major role in the horror movie, The Strangers Outside, appeared in a music video, played a part in the story, A Good Man, and is now cast in the short film Next to Her.
It all started when I noticed that Avalon was able to pick up on my feelings somehow. Whenever I thought one of the neighbors' cats was handsome, Avalon's behavior was clearly more erratic. But, he was more relaxed when I thought a cat was average-looking.
Out of respect for Avalon, I never paid attention to other cats anymore. Sure, I noticed them, but no feelings were ever involved. From then on, I made it my mission to express my love for him as intensely as possible.
It was the best thing that could have happened to Avalon. The dark gloom that continually covered his eyes in the past had given way to a tender, loving gaze. His muscles, once tense, had relaxed. Now that he was loved exclusively, Avalon finally was where he wanted to be in life.
I often wonder how Avalon's life would have turned out if I hadn't made the decision to be there for him. It would have been easy to abandon such a difficult cat. But, by keeping my promise, I was able to turn him into one of the happiest cats the world has ever known; and, in turn, he turned me into one of the happiest humans.
Love can be just that easy.
It all boils down to one thing . . . the decision to love.
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.
Both jubilant and deeply moving, Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.