Ketchikan tomcat adopts litter of abandoned kittens

Henry with his litter of three-week old kittens.
Henry with his litter of three-week old kittens. They’ve been named Jan, Marcia, Cindy, Greg, Peter and Bobby. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

An 8-month-old male cat in Ketchikan has adopted a litter of abandoned kittens found on the side of the road. Henry’s strong mothering instinct is a surprise, and it’s also a gift because he could make all the difference as to whether the three-week old kittens survive.

When they were about a week and a half old someone put them into a cardboard box and dumped them on the road between Craig and Klawock on Prince of Wales Island.

“Luckily, some children walking home from school heard them crying in their box,” says Heather Muench of the Ketchikan Humane Society.

She says they have a volunteer on Prince of Wales who sent the litter over to this island, and Muench started round-the-clock kitten care. But, she hasn’t had to do it alone. Henry has lent a helping paw.

Henry is a young cat who also was rescued by the Humane Society. He has a neurological disorder that makes him a little unsteady when he walks. He has a hard time jumping and has some endearing quirks. Henry also has a strong maternal — or, perhaps, paternal — instinct that kicked in when Muench brought the kittens home. She says it’s increasing the kittens’ chance of surviving

“Yesterday, when I took them to work with me, he was very upset because someone had stolen his babies for the day,” Muench says. “When they came home, he was like, ‘Get them out of the carrying case. Put my babies back!’”

Muench had to take the kittens to work, though, because while Henry can do a lot, he can’t feed them.

Henry’s help may well make all the difference for this litter of kittens, but Muench it’s still too soon to celebrate. She says diseases, parasites, worms or an upper respiratory infection could be present and undetectable because they’re so tiny.

Muench said there are better options for pet owners who find themselves with an unwanted litter. The best option is to avoid the litter in the first place, or otherwise take them to the Humane Society.

These six kittens were lucky to have been found, lucky to have ended up with caring people, and lucky to have Henry. Hopefully, their luck will continue, and they’ll end up surviving and placed in loving homes — after they’ve been spayed and neutered.

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications