Meet Ekko: The Monkey Child

Ekko: The newest Minion

Okay, so starting a blog post with a cute kitten picture may not have been the best decision. (Tell me that doesn’t remind you of an 80s school photo) Let’s try to focus, though, and not scroll down in search of more insatiable feline adorableness. Because this post has a purpose. Namely, to introduce you to the newest Minion in the Kennedy household: Ekko!

(I’ll pause and give you a moment to squeal and air-squish his cheeks)

Another Minion? Really?

Let me start by swearing an oath that my husband and I never intended on adding to the Minions. We love and adore them (in case you couldn’t tell), but they keep us on our toes. Any pet parent will assure you that our fur babies require the same level of care and concern as human children. We just don’t need to worry about paying for college. (And the IRS refuses to allow us to claim our kiddos on our tax returns. So unfair) And considering Firefly, Squeak, and Juniper all have medical issues, we might coo over cats and dogs we see, but we’ve never felt the impetus to add to the family.

Until my birthday, anyway.

With the stress of rebuilding this site (it’s beautiful, isn’t it?), shifting into 2022, and starting new writing classes, I needed a break/treat. And it happened the 14th coincided with Kittenpalooza at the Catnip Cafe. An hour playing and snuggling with kittens? I don’t know too many people who’d pass up THAT opportunity. (Admit it – you wouldn’t) Not to mention I’ve wanted to check out the Cafe since it opened. And I’d bravely taken the day off from work, so why not DO something? (I mean, other than sitting on the couch, fretting that I wasn’t working)

My husband fit the hour into his schedule (is there anything better than a relationship where both of you have flexible work lives?), and I booked the reservation.

Then the Universe went to work.

Meeting Ekko

If you’ve never ventured to a cat cafe, find one in your area and set aside the time for a visit. Seriously, it’ll do wonders for your brain and body. Even before getting to the kitten room, I felt my blood pressure drop – in a good way. The atmosphere breathed PEACE. From comfy chairs to gorgeous artwork, the Cafe begged us to sit and stay awhile. Then you add in gorgeous cats wandering around, snoozing, or asking you for attention.

How does it get better?

Sure, there are other people there. But they’re feline aficionados like you, so it’s not so bad. (And no one says you have to interact with them)

Then we got to the kitten room.

CUTENESS EXPLOSION!

Ekko the day he came home

It’s been almost four years since Tonks was a tiny kitten. I’d forgotten the amount of exuberant energy that comes with those little bodies. Or how careless they are about getting underfoot. (Don’t worry: We were cautioned about minding our feet before we entered) Within seconds, shoelaces were attacked, coat snaps were gnawed, and purse zippers were swatted.

It was precisely the “fix” I needed. And I started playing with 4-6 of them, including a little orange and white guy. He crawled into my lap, booped my nose, and even perched on my husband’s arm at one point. My brain went into overdrive, but I told myself, “No.” (After all, there’s that married thing now – no making decisions alone anymore)

Meanwhile, my husband had settled beside one of the cat beds where a frightened tuxedo lurked. And he stayed there the entire hour, coaxing the little guy to play and venture out into the open. I’ll admit, I locked eyes in that black and white face at one point and felt THE CLICK. But the nervousness made me uneasy. How could a kitten that terrified integrate into our family?

And when my husband admitted we should apply? I steered him away from his newfound friend, Sacha. So we put applied for the little orange guy.

I know. You’re looking at the picture and wondering what happened. The Universe – it gets what it wants every time.

Bringing Ekko Home

Ekko enjoying the sun (and snow)

As it turns out, my little Kittenpalooza friend was bonded to another kitten. And while we agreed one new Minion worked, two was another story. Of course, Sacha was listed with TWO siblings. I could see THE expression in my husband’s eyes, though. He’d made THE CLICK with that shy tuxedo. So I asked the Adoption Coordinator.

Siblings, yes. Bonded? No.

As with many reputable rescues, Feral Affairs Network (the group providing the kittens for this round of Kittenpalooza) requires home visits and interviews before finalizing an adoption. But COVID doesn’t work with that.

Not a big problem when you’re dealing with an insanely creative writer. We took the house photos they wanted, and I put them into a (if I do say so myself) fabulous presentation. I included bios on the Minions (and us).

Did the trick.

On the 17th – a happy synchronicity with Betty White’s 100th birthday – he came home. And I got my reassurance when we arrived back at the Cafe, watching him run around the kitten room. With several days to adjust to things (and more people), he’d resumed his usual personality. (And his foster mom assured me he wasn’t the quiet kitten I’d feared)

He also marked the 18th January adoption for the group – beating their monthly goal. (As a nice additional fact)

The Integration

Of course, while you can TELL the Minions they’re getting a new sibling, the actual introduction process is a bit different. Intrigued by his kitten sounds at first, they all reacted differently when we let him out of the carrier.

Squeak was – well, Squeak. He promptly went back to sleep. And that’s been the extent of his response for the past week. He doesn’t mind one bit. (But that’s also how he reacted to Tonks, so I’m not surprised)

Firefly loves the kitten food. Ekko? Not as much. He tolerates kitten antics, provided they occur AWAY from him. Considering he’s not big on play at his age, though, I’m not surprised. He will sniff at Ekko (when the little mite goes into kitten sleep mode), but that’s about it.

My husband with Ekko

Juniper shows interest in the black and white blur racing through the house. Unfortunately, Ekko isn’t sure what to make of a big dog. He puffs up and hisses at her – though he’s getting better about that. He’s starting to realize she won’t do anything (and rarely notices him). We reward both of them for calm interactions, and they’ve booped noses a couple of times.

Then there’s Tonks. (Poor Tonks) If Ekko hadn’t discovered my desk, I think things would have gone smoother. But he likes being around me (so much for being my husband’s cat). And getting places? Yeah, he’s like her. That also means putting his face in the camera, lying on the keyboard, and attacking the screen. Oh, and sleeping on her chair. I’ve promised he’s NOT taking her place as my Assistant. And she’s taken to sleeping on my lap to establish her claim (she’s SO mad). But she’s also playing chase with him, which is what we’d hoped would happen.

And my husband? Considering this is his first kitten (we were dating when Tonks made her arrival, so he wasn’t living in the house), he’s doing well. At times, I have to reassure him, but he hasn’t panicked too much. (And if his workspace wasn’t so cluttered, I’m sure Ekko would sleep there)

Why “Ekko?”

Obviously, the little mite came with a name. And we COULD have kept Sacha. Except it doesn’t suit him. In Russian, it means “defender of men.” Inspiring. But not really suitable for our little monkey child. (Seriously, he bounces around like a squirrel monkey) And we knew most people would mistake him for a female.

Even before the adoption was final, we’d compiled a list of names. Mostly related to the markings on his face. (Or, I’ll admit it, our favorite pop culture characters) I tried to stay out of the naming process as I wanted this to be my husband’s decision. Except some of his choices verged on 4-5 syllables (and trying to yell a name that long is impractical).

Being the awesome husband he is, he wanted my input. So I threw out Ekko as a possibility. The markings reminded me of the League of Legends character. Not to mention that our little monkey was utterly fearless in his explorations of the house. (And it didn’t sound like any of the others’ names) And the fact he’s tricky to photograph? Yeah, I think it works!

We looked at the little face asked him, and he approved.

So Ekko it is.

And now you have one more adorable Minion to love!

Author: Andria Kennedy

I speak the thoughts rattling around in my brain, sharing topics I think other people want and should hear (or are afraid to talk about themselves). I bring my personality and quirky state of mind to everything I write; serious topics shouldn't be devoid of humor. That includes my blog and freelance work (part of my charm). I've been writing for as long as I can remember. It's a source of solace and enjoyment for me. I'm lucky enough to call what I love my career - so it's NOT work! I live in Virginia with the Minions (four cats and a Greyhound) and my wonderful husband, who ensures I stay fed - no cereal for dinner - and as close to sane as I can get.

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