Six abandoned kittens named after the kids in "The Brady Bunch" TV series are getting a nurturing boost from an unlikely source - a male cat with a slight neurological disorder.
The 3-week-old kittens - named 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 on the TV series.
Muench, a volunteer with the Ketchikan Humane Society, is caring for the kittens at home after someone put them into a cardboard box and left them on a road between Klawock and Craig on Prince of Wales Island.
Children walking home from school one day last week heard the kittens crying. A humane society volunteer living on the island had the kittens flown to Ketchikan.
Muench is providing round-the-clock care, both at her home and at her day job, Island-to-Island Veterinary Clinic in Ketchikan.
At home, she's getting lots of help from Henry, a male cat she and her husband adopted from the all-volunteer Ketchikan Humane Society. Henry's 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 said.
Henry spends hours licking the kittens clean and has become very attached.
Muench takes the kittens to work with her to continue their care during the work day, 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 said of her return home from work.
The kittens face an uncertain future because they're too young to be vaccinated, but she said 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," she said.