Cat survives school run ride under car bonnet

A cat was lucky to survive a five-mile round trip beneath a car bonnet after she escaped from her home.

Four-year-old Rose was discovered by David King, 65, when he popped the bonnet of his Vauxhall Astra to complete an oil check. He had just got home after taking his grandson to school.

David's wife Tina, 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."

Rose is usually an indoor-only pet and was later reunited with her owner, Mr King’s neighbour Allison Webster, 48, after a rescue by Cats Protection.

Retired couple Mr and Mrs King, from Sheerness in Kent, had initially called their roadside assistance service. When they were unable to help, they rang a local vet who suggested that they try Cats Protection.

Kim Braysher, welfare team leader at Cats Protection’s Swale Branch, came to Rose’s rescue.

She said: "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."

Kim said they tried to calm Rose but she "backed away, burying herself deeper into the engine cavity." They then jacked the car up and took off a front wheel off so Kim could reach in from underneath and was able to free the cat.

Rose had a microchip and Kim was able to trace her owner, despite the contact number being out of date, by driving to the registered address which was nearby.

Allison Webster 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.

Allison said that Rose appeared unscathed by her ordeal and that her microchip details have been updated: "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."