Six abandoned kittens are getting a nurturing boost from an unlikely source—a male cat with a slight neurological disorder. The 3-week-old kittens—named after Brady Bunch kids Jan, Marcia, Cindy, Greg, Peter, and Bobby—have been adopted by Henry, an 8-month-old male cat in the southeast Alaska community of Ketchikan. "We have Henry playing Alice; it was the perfect match," said Heather Muench, comparing the cat's role to that of the lovable live-in housekeeper. Muench, a Ketchikan Humane Society volunteer, is caring for the kittens after someone left them in a cardboard box on a road on Prince of Wales Island. Kids walking home from school last week heard the kittens crying.
Muench is providing round-the-clock care; At home, she's getting lots of help from Henry, whose disorder affects his coordination, causing him to walk unevenly and preventing him from jumping. What he lacks in motor skills is more than compensated by his demeanor. "He is very, very sweet and gentle, and he has taken a shine to these kittens," Muench says. Henry spends hours licking the kittens clean and has become very attached. Muench takes the kittens to work with her, raising Henry's angst. "I couldn't get them out of the crate fast enough to satisfy him. But he was very, very happy to have them back," she says. The kittens are too young to be vaccinated, but she says Henry's care could be a difference-maker. "It's kind of unusual for a male cat to decide take on the role of mother. But he's doing a fabulous job, and he's probably increasing their chances of survival."