Imagine her surprise when a lucky Long Island woman spotted a vampire cat while driving home from an appointment on Sept. 29, 2010. Well, not exactly a vampire, but the cat bore a striking resemblance to Dracula.

Nicole Rienzie, of the Port Jefferson area, rescued the malnourished kitten from the side of the road and named him Monk.

“I was coming home from a doctor’s appointment, and my mother was driving us home. We were coming through a back-road neighborhood area, and a little kitten darts in front of the car. We’re animal lovers, crazy cat ladies, so when we saw this tiny kitten, we wanted to help,” Rienzie said. “He was in bad shape. He couldn’t see out of his eyes; he had a severe infection. He wouldn’t have lasted a couple days; he was malnourished, covered in fleas. We took him home, cleaned him up.”

The 6-year-old black cat has been nicknamed "Vampire Cat" because of his unique fang-like teeth. The vet has assured Rienzie nothing is wrong with this adorable kitten. “It’s funny, a lot of people think something’s wrong,” she said. “He’s actually perfectly healthy. He eats too much, eats his brother’s food all the time. He’s a beast. The vet says nothing is wrong. It’s rare. They just grow large canine teeth, bigger than the average canines. He’s actually had several teeth pulled.”  

Monk is one lucky cat because Rienzie rescued his “brother,” Bean, a year later. “Bean was born to a stray mom underneath the deck of a former coworker. I took him in, and the two had an immediate connection. Monk wanted a friend, and they became best friends after that.”

Nicole Rienzie took her beloved cats Monk, right, and Bean to the top of Mount Washington. Photo Credit: Nicole D. Rienzie

The two may be best friends, but they have two completely different personalities: “Bean is a total lap cat, and Monk is spunky and feisty -- a type-A personality,” Rienzie said.

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Although Rienzie may have recused the kittens, the two black cats, in a way, have rescued her. “Both Monk and Bean have helped me out during my depression -- particularly during times of loss and tragedy. I use their social page as an outlet to [de]bunk the myth that black cats bring bad luck, because they have brought me a lot of luck. They have a lot of personality. Black cats are amazing -- so loving and affectionate.”

Rienzie created an Instagram account dedicated to her beloved pets. The account currently has 30,000 followers, and social media users are loving the dynamic duo. “I didn’t anticipate the reaction I got from people. Everyone’s so fascinated with his teeth,” she said.

Best buds Monk and Bean have journeyed on their own zany adventures and have quite the social life. “This summer I climbed Mount Washington and brought them along,” Rienzie said. “Well, Monk and Bean summited Mount Washington, too.”

To keep up with @monkandbean follow them on Instagram.

Rienzie and Monk pose near Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington in the summer of 2016. Photo Credit: Nicole D. Rienzie