Julia Deppe, 11, corrals the litter of five kittens that charmed RAGBRAI riders Thursday on the family’s farm outside of Waverly.

RAGBRAI is better known for pie, pork and corn than kittens.

But it was a litter of five mewling kittens frolicking on the lawn that captured the hearts of riders Thursday on the Dennis and Jennifer Deppe farm just outside of Waverly. Three of the Iowa felines found new homes in cities across the country.

“We would kind of holler at them that we had a Porta Potty and drinks and free kittens,” Jennifer said of the roadside farm scene Thursday, “and that really got a lot of laughs.”

The Deppes specialize in purebred Angus breeding cattle. The Stewart side of the family, meanwhile, raises Duroc swine.

So daughters Jaden, 8, and Julia, 11, set up a stand with Rice Krispie bars to raise money for their trips next month to the Iowa State Fair to show livestock. Kitten adoptions became part of the attraction.

“We decided to bring them out and let all the RAGBRAI riders enjoy them and pet them and hold them,” Dennis said of Butterfinger, M&M, Lemon Drop, Twinkie and Hershey’s Kiss (or S’mores, depending on whom you ask).

The kittens’ mother is named Twix, hence the candy theme.

Two of the five kittens already had been adopted by one of Dennis’ FFA (Future Farmers of America) students. But to the Deppes’ surprise, the remaining three after RAGBRAI will be taken to new homes in San Diego, Chicago and Virginia Beach.

“Some are coming back tomorrow, and some after the ride will stop back and get them,” Jennifer said. “That’s fine. Whatever works for them is great.”

Jaden admitted that she was sad to see the kittens adopted, but no fear: More summer cat litters are imminent on the Deppe farm.

“We traded contact information and met a lot of new friends today,” Dennis said.

He also predicted that the adopted kittens would not retain their candy names.

“I think they’re all going to be named RAGBRAI when they get home,” he said.


Jaden Deppe holds one of the kittens from the litter that became a roadside highlight for RAGBRAI riders from across the country.


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