RANCHO SANTA FE (CNS) - A kitten with a startling white stripe on its back arrived at the Helen Woodward Animal Center Friday and, no, it's really not a skunk.
Pepe LeMew was part of a litter that was taken out of an overburdened shelter in the San Bernardino area by a rescue partner and sent with his siblings for check-in and a routine exam by center veterinary technicians.
"I thought that a baby skunk had accidentally climbed into the carrier with the other kittens," said Adoption Services Assistant Manager Amy Barnes. "It wasn't until he turned around to look at me that I realized he was part of the litter. From the front he looks like a completely different critter."
Center officials said adoption staff were surprised when the domestic short-haired kitten first clambered across the medical table. They said his distinct white stripe made him look more like a smelly backyard prowler than a domestic cuddler.
Staff gave him his name after the Looney Tunes cartoon skunk, Pepe LePew, who romanced every female cat he met.
"Pepe LeMew has a romantic streak as well," Barnes said. "He loves to purr and snuggle and is a total lap kitten. This is a guy you'd definitely want in your home."
He'll be put up for adoption about a week from Friday, once his vaccinations are confirmed to be up-to-date.
Adoption information is available online at www.animalcenter.org, by phone at (858) 756-4117, or stopping by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.