Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Search & Rescue

Lesson learned: Even new kittens need a cat carrier.  She looks so innocent doesn't she? Now that she is all safe and sound she can afford to be cute.

Let me tell you what happened after we picked her up and were on our way home.  We had gone less than 2 miles when this little imp wiggled her way from my son's cuddle and under his seat he went. She made it to the back of the car and reversed the direction coming up under my seat. Before we could do anything she found her way beneath my brake, meowing all the while. I somehow managed to pull over.  And then there was nothing.  No kitten. No purring. No kitten!!

We parked the car and tore it apart, looking every where imaginable.  She wasn't in the car, or the trunk, or the engine. She was no where to be found.  Justin's brand new baby cat had barely made it out of it's former driveway and she'd vanished.  Maybe there was a whole in the bottom of the car and she dropped out. We walked back about 1/2 a mile scanning large roadside ditches. Nothing. When we returned, still not a peep.  We feared the worse, that the kitten somehow got caught between the dash and the engine and we had lost her.  For good.

We were devastated!  How could such a freak accident possibly happen? We were all happy about picking up Justin's birthday present and then within minutes it was a tragedy. We both felt absolutely sick inside.  About a half an hour had passed and we didn't know what to do.  Then a nice old farmer pulled up in front of the car, having seen the hood up.  He asked what kind of trouble we were having.  I explained our situation with much embarrassment and regret.  He assured us there were no holes in the bottom of the car.  He said that we should just drive home and put a bowl of milk out and the kitten would come out from hiding. We weren't so sure. We drove very carefully home. I felt like I was driving a hearse. We stopped to pick up the pizza we had ordered on the way home, but neither of us felt like eating. There was only one thing that could destroy my appetite for Buffalo Chicken pizza and that was it.  The poor little dear couldn't possibly have survived that drive.  We were certain that was the end. And the cat didn't even have a name.

When we got home my husband and other son were there and they both came rushing out. The
search and rescue mission resumed. Brandon climbed under the dash and low and behold a paw appeared.  And then he heard the kitten pur.  Our heart's lept!

It took about an hour and a half longer with much untangling, parts removal, coaxing and patience from all four of us before the traumatized feline would come down.  Justin was faithful to the end and finally won her heart, by talking to her and giving her drips of milk from his fingertip. They actually bonded over the experience and little miss kitty has a new name. At first she was going to be called Dasha (from dashboard), but alas she is Claudia, after a character from a book.

UPDATE: After spending a few days with her, the kitty is officially "Dasha"!


  1. so glad to hear lil' claudia is okay. I can understand how sad you were at first but how happy you were when you saw her little paw and heard her meow. :)

    she a beautiful kitten!

  2. What a funny story!

    Her fur looks so silky. I want to pick her up!

  3. Those little turkey cats. I have heard that a cat can slip through any hole that his or her head will fit through.

    That is my favorite color of cat- your new kitty. She is beautiful. I have also heard that a yellow female is rarer than a male yellow.

    Yes, I learned a long time ago, somehow- someway - you must stay ahead of a cat. (As if):)

  4. She's adorable! One of my cats was napping on the roof of my brother's truck when he left. I live right on a highway, so the cat got a 65 mph drive twenty miles down the road before another driver flagged my brother down and asked, "Is that your cat?!" Kitty was very happy to ride back inside the truck cab.

  5. Hi Carla -

    She's adorable! I'm so glad everything worked out okay.

    Although my experience wasn't as hair-raising, I learned the cat carrier lesson a number of years ago.

    Susan :)

  6. What an adorable kitten!! And what an incredible adventure! Who ever would have thought a kitten could scramble up into the dashboard?! I think you're wise to use the cat carrier in the future!! Glad your story had a happy ending and your son has found a friend for life!

  7. I sympathize with you and your son. My daughter brought home a kitten and that little guy has gotten into some weird places in our house. The worst one was when he somehow climbed into the suspended ceiling in our basement and we couldn't get him out for several hours. We had to take down some ceiling tiles and coax him out with cat treats.


  8. Ah, the ole terrified-kitten-hiding-under-the-dashboard-trick. The appropriate protocol for such a situation is exactly the same as the oh-no-there-are-snakes-loose-in-the-car situation: Ignore them and they WILL come out eventually. Of course, anxiety for the animal's well-being (in the case of the former) or blatant fear (in the case of the latter) do make waiting an onerous option.

    My Rescuing Animals From Tight Spots manual (page 53 in edition 7) addresses this commonplace disquietude in car owners, "You should never allow fearfulness to cause you to dismantle the vehicle. Instead, employ yourself doing something useful - building a shelter and making a nice fire while singing BeeGee tunes would work nicely - until hunger or curiosity drive your pet or invader from their hiding place."

  9. Oh heavens, what an experience and she looks so sweet and innocent! Your son’s in for a ride with Claudia.

  10. Oh, goodness! What an experience! I've never had a cat but have had dealt with several dogs. Bringing new puppies home taught us that in those moments of emergency a small crate would save our laps from piddles and barfing and also provide the pup with safety. In later years we also found the dogs used their crates as dens and hideaways and often retreated to them of their own accord, thus disproving a critic's opinion that dogs hate to be crated. I don't know that cats would do the same, but in the early weeks at least, it's nice to have a secure place to leave a kitten when nobody is going to be home to supervise its mischief (not that Claudia would ever be mischievous, right?). :)


  11. Hooray for Claudia! Thank goodness, you had me really worried half-way through that story!

  12. Awwww, that is so sweet that everything turned out okay. *Very happy sigh*

  13. Every time we've moved, Picasso has done a vanishing act. Three countries, four cities, about a dozen homes. Meanwhile, at no point has she ever left the place in question.

    She vanishes into drawers, washing machines, whatever. When I picked her up from the Hong Kong SPCA ten years ago, I didn't have a single gray hair.


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