You always hear about maternal instincts, but Henry, an adorable tabby cat from Ketchikan, Alaska, has proved that paternal instinct can be just as strong.
Henry is an 8-month old special needs kitty that was rescued by the Ketchikan Humane Society. He suffers from feline cerebellar hypoplasia— more commonly known as ‘wobbly kitten syndrome’. This means that the part of Henry’s brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination was underdeveloped at birth, so he is unsteady and can have a hard time jumping.
In 2015, Henry’s pet mom, Heather Muench of the Ketchikan Humane Society, received a litter of 3-week-old kittens who had been abandoned at the side of the road. They were left in a cardboard box when they were only 1.5 weeks. “Luckily, some children walking home from school heard them crying in their box,” she explained. When the kittens arrived, Heather began caring for them around the clock— and when Henry finally spotted them, his paternal instincts kicked in.
“It’s really kind of cute,” Heather told KRBD. “The first thing he does is start compulsively licking one. He’ll spend hours in there, licking them, over, repeatedly. I think, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re not going to have any fur left’. But, he’s really good at cleaning them up. I shouldn’t complain because then I don’t have to do it.”
Henry and the 6 kittens— Jan, Marcia, Cindy, Greg, Peter, and Bobby— quickly bonded. In fact, one day, when Heather took the kittens to work (because she’s the only one who can feed them), Henry was completely heartbroken!
“He was very upset because someone had stolen his babies for the day,” Heather told KRBD. “When they come home, he was like, ‘Get them out of the carrying case. Put my babies back!'”
These poor kittens got a rough start on life, but Henry’s nurturing is making all difference. “It’s increasing their chance of surviving,” Heather explained.
She told CBC News, “It’s kind of unusual for a male cat to decide to take on the role of mother. But he’s doing a fabulous job…”
After nurturing his first litter of kittens, Henry continued putting his fathering skills to good use. Here he is cuddling with 3 other kittens, Fiori, Gnochi, and Penne.
And here he is with Paul E. Dactyl and Sapphire!
Most kittens coming through the Ketchikan Humane Society doors are scared and in need of love and attention. Luckily, thanks to Henry, they now have a new Dad that they can call their own.
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