The Monterey Company has created thousands of lapel pins for animal rights groups, groomers, breeders, pet shop owners and animal lovers everywhere.

Once upon a time, an orange tabby and his brother with black and white spots, started hanging around Café Aroma. They were cold and hungry.

Stray kittens are uncommon in the Alpine Village of Idyllwild, so the staff started taking care of them. One server brought in an old down comforter, they fed them delicious scraps and the outside heaters became their favorite napping places.

“Pumpkin” was cuddly and his coat was bright orange, so his name came naturally. He also preferred orange food, such as cantaloupe, cheese, and pumpkin squash. “Turkitten,” was named after a Thanksgiving dinner item called “Turchicken,” which is a combination of turkey, ham, and chicken. “‘Turkitten’ is not a combination of turkey and kitten,” said Frank, the café’s manager, “but it’s a conversation starter.”

Behind Café Aroma lies The Monterey Company, a two-story former artist’s loft that now houses the lapel pin manufacturer’s offices. Paul Stark, the company’s president, is an avid animal lover and a local supporter of animal right’s groups. Paloma, a greyhound rescue, comes to work with him nearly every day.

One day, Pumpkin and Turkitten walked right into the office. They were skittish at first, staying near the doorway, but later on, they made their way upstairs. (However, they never seem to visit on days that Paloma is there.) One of the staff members brought in kibble and said, “They must get tired of all that steak and lobster from next door.” Now, Turkitten and Pumpkin have toys lying all over the office, sleep on the chairs and leap up on desks to have their stomachs rubbed.

The atmosphere at The Monterey Company is professional but relaxed enough to allow the cats to feel at home. They’ve also served as an inspiration. One salesperson took a photograph of them and the image instantly became a printed pin.

For more than a decade, The Monterey Company has created thousands of lapel pins for animal rights groups, groomers, breeders, pet shop owners and animal lovers everywhere. Many of them use the lapel pins to create awareness, promote volunteerism and raise funds.

For a sampling of these images, look under “Awareness Pins” in the lapel pin gallery. The friendly salespeople and designers at The Monterey Company will help you create a custom-made pin for you!