Cat With 'Vampire Teeth' Completely Won Over The Woman Who Saved Him
"I've had people say they're Photoshopped. But they're not – they're just his teeth."
Several years ago, Nicole Rienzie was driving with her mom when a black kitten darted in front of her car. She slammed on the brakes, got out and chased after him. She hadn't hit him, but when she found the kitten, she saw that he was in bad shape.
"He was very, very thin, malnourished, covered in bugs and his eyes were so infected he couldn't even see out of them," Rienzie tells The Dodo. "We swooped him up and took him home, cleaned him up, fed him and that's pretty much where it all began."
Rienzie named the kitten Sergio, but his wild personality (and proclivity to swing on things) led her to rename him Monkey. Monkey was then shortened to Monk. "He really just goes by Monk," Rienzie says. "It's evolved."
But Monk was no ordinary rescue. When he lost his kitten teeth and started growing in his adult teeth, Rienzie noticed something unusual about his top canines - they were long. Like really long.
"He's got these really long fangs," Rienzie says. "He looks like a little vampire."
To be precise, Monk's top canines are about three quarters of an inch long. This is much longer than the average cat. Most cats' canines measure to be about one centimeter if they don't have any gum recession, according to Dr. Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh, the critical care specialist at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital.
Rienzie initially worried that something was wrong with Monk. Would he be able to eat with these fangs? Was he in pain? Was there something wrong with him?
She took him to the vet, who said Monk was perfectly healthy.
"It's rare, but [the vet] said some cats just get really big fangs like that," Rienzie says. "His happen to be larger than most cats who grow long fangs, but [the vet] said that sometimes just happens, but there's nothing wrong with it at all."
This doesn't stop people from staring at Monk - and gawking.
"People stop and want to take pictures, but they don't have much to say because they're in so much awe of his teeth," Rienzie says. "When they're speechless it's hilarious."
Monk was so popular with Rienzie's friends, and even people they ran into on the street, that she decided to start an Instagram account in 2013 for the little vampire cat. "When people look at pictures, a lot of the time they think they're fake," Rienzie says. "I've had people say they're Photoshopped. But they're not – they're just his teeth. They're always very surprised, wondering why they're like that."
Monk might be the one who gets all the attention, but he also has a brother named Bean, another black cat Rienzie rescued a year after Monk. Bean had been living underneath the patio of a former coworker when Rienzie offered to foster him. But when Bean and Monk hit it off, she knew Bean was there to stay.
"They were instant friends," Rienzie says. "Monkey really wanted a friend, and the second I put Bean down on the floor, he started licking him, cleaning him. He just loved him instantly."
Monk and Bean love tearing around her house and "trashing the place," according to Rienzie. "They do a lot of playing, and they're very, very active," she said. "I clean up their toys and put them in their toy basket every night, and every morning when I get up, they've taken some out that they want to play with."
Monk and Bean also love going for car rides with Rienzie, especially to get new toys and treats. They also go on outside adventures on their leashes and harnesses.
When they wear themselves out, Monk and Bean settle down for a cat nap. They never sleep apart, according to Rienzie. "They're always in a little cuddle puddle," she said.
Monk might look like a vampire, but Rienzie says there's nothing scary about him. "He's very spunky, feisty and he's got a little bit of attitude, but he's very, very sweet. He likes to lick a lot."
Monk occasionally nips Rienzie while they're playing, but Rienzie promises his fangs don't hurt ... and that she hasn't turned into a vampire yet. "You don't even feel them," she says with a laugh.
To see more photos of Monk with his vampire fangs, visit his Instagram page.