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Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Kittenhood of the Traveling Monkey Pants

The Kittenhood of the Traveling Monkey Pants
Part One

Stay tuned for Part Two of this story where I will reveal how Opie Taylor acquired his monkey pants. This is a must read for those of you who need a splash of color in your lives or have just always wondered, "How can I get a pair of my very own monkey pants?" For the rest of you wondering what the heck are monkey pants? I'll give you the scoop next post..... (disclaimer: I am not responsible for lack of sleep readers may experience waiting for part two)

I don't have baby pictures of Opie Taylor--not "real" baby pictures. He came to live with us when he was just shy of being four months old and the only way I figured out how old he was is because he still had a few of his milk teeth. I wasn't exactly planning on adding a kitty to my already busy life with my son, our dachshund, Miss Frankie, and myself. We'd just moved into our 1929 Tudor style cottage, nestled on two acres dotted with apple trees, and overflowing with tranquility. I was much too busy making it a home, and learning how to mow all the acreage let alone think seriously about getting another pet.

I had merely mentioned the notion in a passing conversation that it might be fun to get a kitten. It was just a thought, an idea that slipped out of my mouth one day when hanging out with some friends. Jake, my son, and I laughed about how Miss Frankie may not share the same idea as fun, or good, or anything else. She'd been teased relentlessly by an old tom cat named, Big Red, we'd had in CA. His greatest fun was to hide in the flower pots on the front porch each morning, and wait for her to come out for her morning potty break. She always ran straight back to the front door quickly because breakfast was waiting for her. Thus her continual oblivion to Big Red lying in wait for her return--she was distracted by the thought of kibbles in her dish.
Miss Frankie would bark to let us know she was ready to come back in. We'd open the door and she'd scurry back in but just as her little lamb chop legs bounced over the threshold into the house, Big Red would reach out, seemingly from no where, to swipe her tail or bottom. She'd yelp, always taken back a bit from the cat spanking. He'd run off before she could retaliate, and we'd comfort her trying our best not to laugh in front of her because of Big Red's morning antics. But in our defense, it was funny. When you're a wiener dog the entire world is huge, very huge. So when we moved away from southern CA, Miss Frankie never once asked where Big Red was. Not once. She happily had her people all to herself.

One day I was surprised to come home from work to find some kitty paraphernalia lying about in the living room. My son, and a friend was there, both looking like a cat that had just swallowed a canary. This particular friend had a passion for buying gifts that were not on my "got to have" list such as the time he purchased a ball python, complete with tank, lamps, etc., for my son. How do you tell someone to take a gift back after your kid thinks he's just won the lottery? So when I saw the kitty toys, kitten food, and litter box, I felt an inner heat of righteous anger rise to my cheeks in knowing he'd just crossed the line again with me.

"Where is it?" I asked barely managing not to turn into a banshee. I was furious. How dare him bring a kitten home without my permission? Picking out a kitten, puppy, or any pet is a highly personal thing. I'd always had a specific type of kitten or cat I preferred, and how could he make that choice for me? So my first instinct was to find it and then make him return it to wherever he got it from. I stomped about the house, not angry at the kitten, mind you, angry that this friend had taken liberties he did not have, and I wanted to impress upon him that he had pushed the wrong buttons in me that day.

I saw the door to my bathroom was closed. I turned to see both my friend, and my son cowering behind me. "Is it in here?" I asked. Both nodded their heads up and down in a nervous yes.

My plan that afternoon was to walk into my bathroom, pluck the kitten up and hand it back to my friend without so much as a pet on the little fluff ball's head. I just knew it would be a kitty with a skinny face, weird set eyes, and no personality. I opened the door to my bathroom, and there on the floor, crouching behind the toilet, was the sweetest face I'd ever seen in a small bundle of cat fur. He meowed at me, helpless, and frightened with such an innocent, wide-eyed stare, I melted like a snow cone on a sidewalk in mid August.

"Awwwww....." The sound of instant love escaped my throat for the entire world to hear. I heard snickering behind me, but my mothering instincts were in full swing so I didn't turn around to slap both of them in that moment. I was too full of love to do anything but surrender my heart and soul to the kitten who came to live with us that summer afternoon.
That was ten years ago, almost to the day, that little Opie Taylor came home to live with us. He teased and tormented Miss Frankie with his kitten like ways. She tried to act like she didn't like him, just like I did, but we'd come home and catch them cuddled up together on the couch. They mooched food together and played chase. Opie Taylor somehow figured out the game of swatting Miss F's bottom when she came back in the house after her potty trips. And Miss Frankie taught Opie the rules of the house, all the "no-no's" and "how to's", such as how to kiss Mama (me). Miss F knew I didn't like doggy kisses directly on my mouth or face so she learned to dip her head when approaching me so I could kiss her on her forehead. Opie does that to this very day, just like Miss Frankie did. It's like getting a two-in-one kiss.

Miss Frankie left us a year ago last March. She wears a sparkly angel suit instead of fur now, and often comes to me in my dreams. She's always smiling when she sees me, and is wiggling her tail which leads to a full body wag when you're a wiener dog. I miss her so much. And now in a strangely comforting way, Opie channels her intuitiveness and her all around sensitivity to my needs. Just like Miss Frankie, he knows I'm hormonal before I do. He is my guru kitty. He's always there by my side to comfort me, make me giggle, and he always seems to know when I need him to dip his head to give me a kiss. I used to call her my "hot dog bottle" when she wouldn't leave my side when I was sick. Opie does that now, too.

If I'd have demanded my friend remove that kitten that day without ever really seeing it, I would have missed out on knowing Opie Taylor. He'd already been abandoned by someone, and dumped like so many cats and dogs are, out in the country. He came from a rural area that had several batches of barn yard kittens, and none of which were his litter mates. No one had any attachment to him whatsoever. He was one of the last kittens to find a home because he was older that the others. I had no way of knowing seeing him huddled behind the toilet that he was on his way to an animal shelter if no one picked him by the end of that week mid July 10 years ago. I just knew I loved him, flat out adored him, in an instant.
I'd like to believe Opie Taylor somehow picked me not the other way around. I cannot imagine my world without him in it. Or my life without monkey pants...

To be continued......


  1. Oh that is the sweetest story. It truly warmed my heart. Opie is such a cutie and I am glad you have each other to love. I am however very curious about monkey pants.


  2. aaaawwwwww......! What a cute kitty! How could your heart NOT melt!
    ...waiting for part 2....

  3. "I was surprised to come home from work to find some kitty paraphernalia"

    I enjoyed the story, but considered it unfortunate that the cat was addicted to drugs. I've never heard of a cat stealing your credit cards in order to get cash advances with which to buy drugs, but I wouldn't be surprised if I did. I've also heard that cats who do meth can get pretty mean, especially when they're coming down from their trip.

  4. Yeah you are back blogging!! Did you get your sassy pants hitched up? Good to see you:) I love this story about Opie. He looks so cuddly and I want to hold him. You are making me jealous. I have wanted a kitty for years but allergies prevent it. Fantastic post. I can't wait for part two.

  5. Is there really a kitten that would not melt your heart? That's why, when Hubby sees a stray, I don't look at them! Opie is a cutie...

  6. Aaaaah, so cute :)
    Monkey pants, eh, now I'm curious...

  7. Falling for Opie..and waiting with baited breath for part 2!

  8. Lil D- much is revealed of your heart here. all soft, good and mushy. Ms. Frankie seemed like a quite proper lady, and Opie quite forgiving of his name. Waiting for the sequel. I'll go make some popcorn. BRB ~rick

  9. Odd how pets come into our lives. since we've been together we never chose either of the two dogs, they were strays abandoned at about 5 years old. Both of them different as night and day but knowing where they belonged.

  10. Animals have a habit of creeping into our souls don't they! We recently had an offer from someone to buy our two hogget ewes (bluey and cynthia)... they would have gone to an excellent owner... but my heart repulsed at the very thought of it, the two of them are my children, I fed them from hour old lambs, saw them through bloat, sat up with them for hours when they looked like they were going down hill..... now they follow me round the field, and if they get half a chance, settle down together on the kitchen floor.. Then there's the two dogs and three horses... every one with their own personality and part of my heart.
    Your story is just lovely! and such a gorgeous little dog!.. Opie looks like a true sage... hope you're feeling more sassy now, we had a blahhhh week last week too.. sending good vibes! :-D

  11. ~~Anne...
    Just like you and Sasha, Opie & I are joined at the hip. The entire world should know about monkey pants. I think it's my mission to go boldly where nine lives have gone before... [being corny has been a lifelong affliction...]

    Opie is blushing. Well actually he's napping but under those whiskers are a pair of pink cheeks. He is an angel. And I get a kick out of sharing him with others. Thank you purrrzzzz...

    I think that last picture of him musta been when he was sleeping off the pot brownies he got into. The one of him sitting on the couch with the silly "huh??" look on his face was when he told me he never inhaled. The one of him in the basket was, well, quite honestly was the only way we could keep him from falling out of bed after a full night of binge drinking. Those were his crazy college days [daze]. He's a little better since rehab. Now if I could just get him off those darn Pounce Seafood Medley Moist should see him slobber, stare off into space with glassy eyes, and meow non-stop, and try to swipe them right out of your hand like a gypsy child street urchin. This is why I had to lock up the keys to the car, my credit cards & my cell phone. Opie will text or call my friend Dylan begging her to call me to give him more.... true story!

  12. ~~Joanna...
    Sweet is good, and good for matters of the heart. Just like you are.. [smiles]

    Oh I am holding my sassy pants up with rainbow colored suspenders like Robin Williams wore in Mork & Mindy. This is the only way I can find to keep them cinched up high enough. Standing in front of the mirror dressed like this can only remind me to look for the giggles in between the tears. Chronic illness can wear you down and beat the joy right out of you. But I am a fighter with a huge dollop of circus clown in spite of getting buried at times with pain.

    It's friends like you who and the others who faithfully follow me even when I'm too tired to post that keep me reaching for my sassy pants & suspenders. I adore you, Rae.

    It saddens me to know you are allergic to kitties. How about this? I'll share OT with you. :-)
    Thanks for the hugzzzzz~~

    So true. So very true. My Mom and I are both big suckers for animals & my Mom has picked up more strays than anyone I've ever known. She and my Dad live out in the sticks in KY, and people continually dump unwanted pets out there. She has a cat my Dad found as a kitten that had an infection in both eyes so bad the vet had to remove both eyeballs just so it would survive. Her name is Miss Pepper. You would never know she has no eyes. She follows your movement, and anticipates your next move like she knows exactly where you are. Uncanny. Needless to say, my Mom is a saint. I think it's charming your hubby has a soft heart, too.
    I'd still love to come visit you on your farm. And, yes, I'm batting my eyes like a stray hoping you'll adopt me. ;-)

    ~~Sharon & Eva...
    The excitements mounts! Monkey Pants revealed! Opie is in his glory to know so many people think he's the cat's meow...

    Oh the stress of being a red-headed step child... Now here's the dilemma. How do you teach a cat to whistle the Andy Griffith theme song, AND carry a fishing pole? This is what keeps me awake at night. Opie is a purrrfect name for him. He endears me just like the original Opie does every time I watch a re-run of that sweet little boy from a time and place of fragrant innocence and apple pie with cheddar cheese melted on top.

    Put my name in the pot for some popcorn, too. I can smell it from here. Thanks, Rick, for sprinkling some salt and butter on my beautiful day.~~~

    I can sense your home is a better place for making room for angels of the four-legged variety. I can also sense you have a heart of gold. Good combo warm hearth and warm hearts. Your comment made me smile.
    Thank you, Mark...

    Superman used to raise goats, too. He has a special place in his heart for them, and someday will have a few more to tend to. I had such a wonderful visual of you raising your babies, and them following you around like the pied piper. Now I am even more intent on joining you and the Ronald for a cozy conversation in your kitchen, with the kids nestled on the floor by the table.

    Opie nods his head in sagely approval that you see the pearls of wisdom in his green eyes. He is a keeper, just like your beloved kids. You made my day, Vicki. Pure and simple as that!

  13. Awwwwwwwwwwwh and do you want to know something funny... i fell in love LovE LOVE with Miss Frankie (!!!) the little Op shop Dachshund (!!!) in my local shopping strip X:-o! and ever since have been trying to convince my family we need our very own little Frankie (Only i'm going to call her Flossy!) i know one day soon she will find me X:-)
    (Ps) But i am actually a little scared that our kitty might eat a puppy for breakfast (!!!) Our Tarro came to us in a very similar way... Via my mum! X:-)

  14. Oh dear, now how am I supposed to get any sleep now wondering about monkey pants ??? I'm sure these creatures do come and find us, they sense our need for them at the same time we sense their need for us... well, that's what happened when our tadpole daughter brought home a free kitten from the market a few years back. And then less than a year later the kitten had kittens, and we had to keep one of them... and then there were two...

  15. Can't really say how much I loved learning how Opie Taylor came to be your lovin' guy. Once again, I am reminded of my orange-and-white Bleecker when I see these pictures: the brightness in the sun, the rings on the tail (that blended in softly as he aged), the perfection of a ginger cat's intuitiveness. The other night I dreamed I found a mask in two pieces. When I put it together, it was Bleecker. My husband was there saying it was a miracle. I put the pieces together and tried on the mask. Looking at myself in the mirror I was so excited and felt my two years of sorrow missing him just melt away. Now, whenever I missed his face all I had to do was put on the mask.


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