I was trying to figure out what sort of pet a lonely studious school teacher would have for my romance novel “Isabel’s Awakening” and of course came up with the domestic house cat. Having an animal as part of the story can work on many levels. The pet can be an engaging character that moves the plot along, a witness to events or even an evaluator of the other characters’ personalities. In my story, Isabel’s cat “Beast” is a shelter pet with a jaded past. He is described as the world’s ugliest cat because he is missing clumps of fur wherever his mouth can reach to remove them. Beast suffered from a nervous condition and destroyed his hair follicles with compulsive licking. The ugliness of the cat is what makes him a lovable character that attracts the affection of superstar and bad boy rocker, Thomas Morgan. Beast travels on tour with supergroup “Becket” even becoming a popular Facebook viral sensation with fans “liking” the cat’s concert shirt photo.
Ultimately, the inspiration for Beast came from my own cat, Rufus. Rufus was a lovable black short haired cat that started ripping all his fur out after the birth of our first child. Prozac and valium were unable to solve the anxiety problem and it wasn’t until our son was older that he stopped the self mutilation. Rufus was a wonderful cat, loved to climb all over people and impress them with his good manners. He learned sit, come, stay and how to use the toilet as a litter box. He passed away at 15 years of age and we miss him still.