ROCKFORD, Wash. — The transportation department staff at Freeman School District #358 had an unexpected visitor at their bus yard in early October — a three-week-old kitten.
Freeman school bus driver Katie Youngren wrote about the team’s experience finding and caring for the kitten, which they named Eve, in a children’s book titled Itty Bitty School Bus Kitty, and Eve has since become something of a sensation in Rockford.
Youngren told SBF in an interview last month that on Oct. 1, one of the department’s other school bus drivers heard meowing coming from under a dumpster as she was walking into the facility. Operations Manager Everett Combs fished the kitten out.
“It just so happened that two of my cats had vet appointments that morning, so I took her to the vet and she said that she was in really good shape,” Youngren said. “I brought her back to the transportation facility, and Charlotte [Trejbal, the transportation supervisor] would kitty-sit. Everyone took turns taking her home, and we’d bring her back to the office during the day. We bottle-fed her, and I would take her home over the weekend.”
Youngren said that as Eve became more mobile and curious, the staff decided that she needed a permanent home, so she now lives with Youngren’s family.
It was at a friend’s urging that Youngren wrote Itty Bitty School Bus Kitty, which she dedicated to the students of Freeman School District #358. (The book comprises a poem and numerous photographs of Eve.)
After getting the book laid out and bound, Youngren started a publishing company, Freeman Press, to distribute it, and she created a website for it, where copies can be purchased.
Since the book was published on Dec. 17, Youngren said things have taken off. She and Eve did interviews at two local TV stations in Spokane, Wash., and for a local newspaper, and Youngren has several book signings scheduled at stores in Spokane, as well as an interview scheduled with a radio station in Spokane.
“We’re also planning to take her to the Rockford Fair, and I’m thinking of turning this into a series,” Youngren said. “I wrote another poem called ‘Itty Bitty School Bus Kitty Makes New Friends,’ and it has to do with Eve meeting my other pets. I’d like to have that published by June. Then I want to do a book about Eve visiting an animal shelter. I want to make it an educational tool about how important it is to adopt kittens because there are so many that don’t have homes.”