Male cat takes on role of mom
Male cat takes on role of mom Henry, a male cat, cares for some kittens at a home in Ketchikan, Alaska (AP photos)
Male cat takes on role of mom
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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 old 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 on Prince of Wales Island.

Children walking home from school 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 take on the role of mother. But he's doing a fabulous job and he's probably increasing their chances of survival," she said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why were six kittens named after the kids in "The Brady Bunch" instead of some other show?

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Assigned 12 times

  • Haley Patterson
    5/27/2015 - 01:41 p.m.

    I think that this is great that this cat is acting as the mother so that these kittens instead of just letting them alone because that would be very cruel and mean.

  • CharismaM
    5/27/2015 - 01:55 p.m.

    The fact that this male cat is taking care of someone else's kittens is so great. Especially since he's a male and they don''t normally play the mother role for the kittens. Hopefully this will increase their chance of survival and the kittens will continue to be healthy.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    5/27/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    Usually, male cats are the more loving and caring pets rather than the female. This article doesn't surprise me too much because I expected it.

  • KiraWvA-4
    5/27/2015 - 07:54 p.m.

    Six abandoned kittens in southeast Alaska have been adopted by their caretaker's cat, Henry. Henry is eight months old and had a disorder that means he can't walk straight or jump, but he is very sweet and placid. Heather Muench, the vet that takes care of Jan, Marcia, Cindy, Greg, Peter and Bobby (named for the kids in the Brady Bunch), says that Henry licks them for hours and is very attached to them, although it is rare for a male cat to act like a mother. I like how Henry is defying the classic cat gender roles and adopting kittens, and he's not even a year old. He probably feels bad for the formerly orphaned kittens since he is also handicapped.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    5/27/2015 - 07:59 p.m.

    This is the most adorable post that I have seen yet. It is a wonder that some person can leave six helpless kittens alongside the road. If I were that person I would be extremely mad at myself for even thinking the thought of abandoning a helpless animal.

  • 1andrewS
    5/28/2015 - 09:06 a.m.

    when i first saw this article i thought it meant a male cat had become a mom and that it had kittens,but it was a cat nurturing kittens and had a disorder and what made it even more cool is that it's from "The Brady Bunch"

  • 9ZachL
    5/28/2015 - 09:45 a.m.

    Here are some pros and cons. One con is that the dad can not give the milk that the kittens need. Another con is that the male cat has a disorder that might not be as useful to support the cats. Some pros are the male cat is still supporting for the kittens even though his condition is good. Another pro is that not only does the male cat like them but the kittens also like him.

  • 8cadel
    5/28/2015 - 09:58 a.m.

    The Six kittens were named after the Brady Bunch because the kittens have certain things about them that remind the owners of the characters from the Brady Bunch. For example, Henry, on of the cats, fit the role of Alice because he was the kind and nurturing one. Henry however has some disabilities with his motor skills and walking properly. This doesn't take away from the fact that he is still a kind, and nurturing cat that can take care of his kittens. Yet it is very unusual for the male cat to play the role of a mother, he still provides for his kittens.

  • BDaniel-Cas
    5/28/2015 - 12:01 p.m.

    I think this is really cool because the kittens could be the reason why Henry could be happy everyday. They could give him a reason to try to jump.

  • AdriannaGMaroon
    5/28/2015 - 04:41 p.m.

    I think that was a very good story. Those kittens didn't have a mother, so Henry decided to substitute for the role of Alice/Mother.

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