Stowaway feline finds fame

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2003

If the kitten that rode four days trapped between 1,000-pound bales on alfalfa hay has used up eight of her nine lives, then the ninth one was saved for stardom.

The Messenger reported the story of the kitten that survived a 1,000-mile journey and now has a loving home in Banks with Jean and Dick Barr.

That should have been the end of the incredible journey story, but it wasn't.

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The wonder of the Web put Little Alfalfa in the limelight once again.

Out in Denver, Colo. the story was picked up by a radio station that broadcasts throughout the county.

"Thursday I got a phone call from a lady who said she worked with a radio program about animals," Jean Barr said. "She had read the story about our little kitten on the Internet and wanted me to tell it on the Sunday night program."

Barr was willing to tell the survival story of her kitten that is much too pretty to have a name like Alfalfa.

"She's too pretty, too precious for a name like that," Barr said, laughing. "I agreed to tell the story because I think it's a pretty incredible story and she's such a precious little kitten."

Barr said the caller told her she would be on at 7 p.m. central time and she would be called a few minutes earlier so she could be informed as what to do.

As the clock ticked off the minutes until 7 p.m. Sunday, Barr waited patiently, but her husband, with a mischievous grin suggested the whole thing might have been joke someone was playing on her.

When the call had not come by 7 p.m., a look of slight concern came over Barr's face.

At just that same time, the telephone jingled and she grabbed it.

She confirmed that she was, indeed, the owner of Little Alfalfa and was given a bit of information about the program, "All About Animals," on which she was about to appear.

The radio station is 670-KOP in Denver and could be picked up through the station's affiliate in Chicago, Barr was told, but she didn't have time to dial a radio.

Barr was told the show host was talking with someone in Australia during the first segment. She would be next in line."

While Barr waited, her husband brought Alfalfa off the porch to be with her during their few minutes of fame.

A long, short while later, the telephone rang again and Barr was on the radio - live throughout the country.

She told the story of how, somehow, a three-week old kitten stowed away on a truckload of alfalfa hay in Nebraska and survived the long, hot journey to Alabama without food or water for four days.

"The host was interested in how we tamed this wild 'beast,' Barr said laughing. "But she was more interested that we had a mother cat with kittens and how that mother cat took the kitten just like it was hers."

Barr said sometimes mother animals will take another's baby if they are coaxed.

"But our mother cat saw that the kitten was scared and starving and she called her right to her."

The Barrs had attempted to feed the kitten milk with an eyedropper and wet cat food with a spoon, but what she needed was a mother.

Barr told the radio audience that the aptly named Alfalfa is now the most loving kitten one could ever want.

"But she's learned a valuable lesson," Barr said, laughing. "Our son, John Dick, who found the kitten and brought her to me, was here the other day. He cranked his truck and it made that loud noise. It scared her to death. I don't think we'll have any more problems with Alfalfa getting near any more trucks."

"And, that's 'All About Animals' and All about Alfalfa, coming to you live from Banks, Alabama where Alfalfa plans to stay."