Kent granddad David King drove from his house in Berridge Road, Sheerness, to collect his grandchild and take him to school in Minster, unaware of the extra passenger he was carrying in such a perilous position beside the car engine.
When he completed the five-mile round trip, David, aged 65, parked up and, as luck would have it, popped the bonnet of his Vauxhall Astra as his car had recently been serviced and he wanted to check the oil and water. What he actually saw came as quite a shock.
David’s wife Tina, aged 67, said: “He came running in shouting for me to come have a look. I thought whatever’s wrong? What I didn’t expect to see was two eyes staring back at him from a ball of fluff. We weren’t even sure it was alive.
“I gently prodded it with a stick to check it was breathing and saw it was a terrified little cat. It reversed even further into the engine and was stuck. I tried to reach it but it was too far down and there wasn’t any way I could coax it out. My husband couldn’t touch it as he’s allergic to cats.”
The retired couple called their roadside assistance service and, when they were unable to help, rang a local vet, who suggested that they appealed to Cats Protection to rescue the trapped moggy.
Kim Braysher, Welfare Team Leader at Cats Protection’s Swale Branch, took the call and was on the scene within minutes. “When we opened the bonnet, we saw two wide eyes staring back at us. She was understandably frightened and trembling.
“She must have been petrified all the time the car was driving on the busy school run. It was no wonder she was so wary after such a traumatic morning. We tried to calm her but she backed away, burying herself deeper into the engine cavity. We just couldn’t reach her. It was clear we’d have to try something more drastic if we were to coax her out.
“Tina agreed that my husband Simon could jack the car up and take the front wheel off so that I could get underneath, reach in and pull the cat out without causing her any injury. All the time we were talking to her, trying to keep her calm so that she didn’t get even more stuck.”
When Rose was finally freed, Kim scanned for a microchip and, thankfully, a chip was found. Despite the chip’s registered contact number being out of date, the owner’s home address was nearby so Kim drove there with Rose.
Rose’s luck was in again and her relieved owner Allison Webster answered the door.
“I explained that I was from Cats Protection and asked if their cat had recently gone missing,” said Kim. “She was overjoyed when I said we’d found her cat but shocked to hear the danger she’d been in. It was an emotional reunion, thanks to Rose being microchipped. It’s also a lesson to keep your contact details up to date on the chip’s database.”
Four-year-old Rose had escaped from her home in Sheerness on Sunday, leaving her owner anxious about how the indoor-only cat would survive on the chilly streets.
Little did they expect that Rose would find a snug place to hide inside the engine cavity of a car and be forced to survive an ordeal that proved that she is #MoreThanJustAMoggy.
Allison, aged 48, said: “On Monday morning, I thought she was asleep in my son’s bedroom on his windowsill but I felt something was wrong after he left for school and she never appeared. She always gallops around the house after being fed. So I was surprised but relieved when I answered the door to Cats Protection.
“Rose is my family and she had quite an experience with all that she went through. She must have been so afraid when the car was moving along the roads. I feel so blessed that she had Cats Protection as well as a lovely couple who were willing and able to bring Rose home to me.”
Rose appeared unscathed by her ordeal and her microchip details have been updated, Allison said: “Rose is back to galloping around the house as if nothing happened but I’m pretty sure she has used up one of her nine lives. Bless her, she’s a very lucky cat and I’m lucky to have her.”