It'll never replace Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia in the ice cream marketing Hall of Fame, but workers at a Glen Burnie Friendly's restaurant hope to turn the birth of three stray kittens into a public relations bonanza.
The kittens, about 8 weeks old, were found behind a hollow wall in the ladies' restroom at Friendly's in Marley Station.
A customer heard their cries Sunday. A manager called the Fire Department and mall security to punch holes in the wall. An "out of order" sign was hung on the door.
With offerings of tuna and water and the occasional Garfield impression, workers coaxed the black kittens with white markings into the open, one by one.
"I went in there and started meowing and purring, and the kitten was answering me," said waitress Connie Linton, who helped bring out the last hand-sized kitten yesterday morning.
"It was a good team effort," Linton said. "We weren't going to stop until we got all of them out of there."
Workers and a friend have claimed the nameless balls of fur, two males and a female.
If Friendly's has its way, they won't stay nameless for long. The restaurant will hold a contest, starting today, challenging youngsters under 12 to come up with the best names.
All children who enter will receive a coupon for a free junior cone, with the grand prize yet to be determined, said Kevin Hyland, a Friendly's district manager.
The mother? She apparently is on the prowl again, restaurant workers said.
While the kittens behind the wall surprised Friendly's staff, the location probably made perfect sense to the mother, said John Wazniak, owner of Baltimore Pets in Brooklyn Park and former host of the Pet Talk Show on WCBM radio.
"Dogs and cats and all small animals like that, when they evolved, they were basically cave-dwelling animals," he said. "Cats try to find a place to have their kittens that is going to be protective of them."
The mother of the Friendly's kittens probably got into the wall space through a pipe that led from the parking lot into the mall during construction of a Sears department store next to the restaurant, said Catherine Bowen, the restaurant's customer service supervisor.
Linton said she is pretty sure the third kitten was the last one in the wall:
"I've been listening at the wall and purring, and nothing."
Pub Date: 8/07/96