Fur and Feathers Flock Together

Chicken takes kitten under its wing

Happiness is a warm bed -- particularly if that bed can maintain a constant temperature of 110 degrees, has silky soft feathers and keeps the clucking down at night.

For Tofu the kitten, nothing beats hitting the sack alongside Big-Wig the chicken. Tofu and Big-Wig, a Chinese Silkie, formed an animal odd couple after the sick kitten was rescued from the crawl space of a Los Angeles home.

Construction workers were about to close the space, evicting baseball-sized Tofu and her brother about two weeks ago.

"When I picked her up, she was in really bad condition," said Gisela Reoya, who was able to grab four-week-old Tofu.

The kitten was malnourished, covered in fleas and suffering from eye infections. Reoya already has four Boxers, so she had to pass on Tofu, but Anne Hars and her Silkie chickens provided the perfect match.

"They're sort of the lapdogs of the chicken world," Hars said. "They're known for the mothering skills. So, we decided to see if Big-Wig might keep the kitten warm. The kitten immediately crawled under the chicken and slept. The chicken made room for her, constantly tending the kitten to make sure she was comfortable."

They tried the same thing after finding Tofu's brother under a car, but he was too sick to survive.

Tofu -- so named because tofu is used as a chicken substitute -- thrived under Big-Wig's care. She spent most of the time in her basket with the chicken until a well-meaning passerby Sunday noticed her outside the Hars' gate.

"I'm sure she thought she was a stray kitten who needed help, so she took her," Hars said.

Hars and her husband printed posters with Tofu's picture, but also broadcast their plea for Tofu's return by filling in two thought bubbles painted on the street-facing exterior of the residence.

Somebody got the message. On Monday afternoon, Hars found a note on her door -- "Don't worry. The kitten is OK and comfortable."

It turned out Tofu was with a bunch of party animals -- a couple on the way to a birthday bash scooped up the kitten when they saw her in the street. They took her to a party for a neighbor, who saw the Hars' "Missing Kitten" mural the next day.

Tofu was back under Big-Wig's wing Monday night.

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