Featured LIFE

This Prius really purrs!

This shy kitten was eventually released from inside a car engine after concerned residents did everything they could to rescue it. (courtesy photo)

This Prius really purrs!

By John Gregory

A spontaneous act of community kindness was on display as several concerned Scripps Ranch residents collaborated to solve the puzzle of freeing a frightened kitten hiding in a car engine last month.

Approximately 20 people joined the cause to save the kitten in a marathon effort between Feb. 12 and 13. 

The drama unfolded as neighbors discovered a stray kitten in some bushes on Rock Creek Drive on Feb. 12. As they tried to catch it in a box, it ran into the engine compartment of a car parked nearby. 

The owners of the parked car came home that night in another vehicle, and the cat jumped into that car engine compartment because it was warm, according to reports.

Members of the Real House Cats of Scripps Ranch Facebook page were alerted, and local cat lovers spread the word.

At the same time, there was a report of a lost kitten in Scripps Ranch. That kitten’s owner reportedly went to the location of the car, but discovered this kitten was not hers. 

Christy Cowling, a moderator of the Real House Cats of Scripps Ranch Facebook page, contacted the San Diego Humane Society at about 11:30 p.m.

“They told us to leave food out and wait until morning – maybe find a mobile mechanic to take the vehicle apart,” Cowling said. “The kitten was not stuck, it just didn’t want to come out of the car engine.” 

So, they left food for the kitten and left a note on the car windshield so the owners would not start the engine with the kitten inside. The concerned citizens wrapped up their vigil at about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, and planned to return later in the morning, Cowling explained.

“I could not sleep, so I ended up getting up and getting myself together at 6 a.m., and went back to the car owner’s house,” Cowling said. “The owner was getting ready to walk her dog and the kitten was still in the Prius.”

Mechanics from D.C. Mobile Auto Repair eventually freed the feline after dismantling a car in which it was hiding. (courtesy photo)

Cowling posted a request on local social media pages asking if anyone could recommend a mobile mechanic to help retrieve the cat. Then she contacted the Humane Society again to see if they could send someone to help. 

By now, the numbers of concerned residents began to grow on the morning of Feb. 13.

“We had – I don’t know how many neighbors from that street plus people on the Real House Cats page and Scripps Ranch Information Exchange page – come out to see if we could disassemble the engine or coax the cat to come out,” Cowling said.

But, feline behavior is often unpredictable. The kitten made a surprise appearance, only to climb back into the engine space.

“We could see the kitten come out of the engine compartment and lay next to the passenger front tire,” Cowling said.

Someone from the Humane Society arrived on scene, delivering a safe cat trap. The person from the Humane Society said it would be a matter of simply waiting for the kitten to come out of the engine. Cowling helped set the trap near the right front tire.

Meanwhile, she had called about six different mobile mechanics, and none would come out to help. Eventually, Jenny Major from Sunrise Rescue, a pet rescue organization specializing in helping with fragile animals, was able to assist with the effort. Sunrise Rescue contacted DC Mobile Auto Repair, which sent a pair of mechanics.

“They came and disassembled the Prius. They put it up on the jack and took out the skid plate, part of the engine and then the kitten finally got scared enough to where it went into the side panel of the vehicle,” Cowling said. “Jenny Major was able to grab it and then put it in the crate.”

Now, the kitten is in the safe care of Sunrise Rescue and has been named Prius. 

The mechanics from DC Mobile Auto Repair didn’t know they were being dispatched to rescue a kitten until they arrived at the scene, but “they were amazing,” Cowling said. 

Sunrise Rescue paid for the services of the mobile mechanics. This is about the third time Jenny Major from Sunrise Rescue has helped with a cat rescue in Scripps Ranch in recent years, Cowling said.

“She was a tremendous help and has really been a big help to our community,” Cowling added. “She deserves a lot of accolades.”

Visit sunriserescue.com to learn more about the organization, view pets for adoption or volunteer. Contributions can be made to the Sunrise GoFundMe page: gofundme.com/f/sunriserescue. Contact: info@sunriserescue.com or call (480) 266-8597.

The tireless efforts of community members were successful as a stray kitten was freed from inside a car engine. (courtesy photo)