Bekkum is one cool cat. Hit by a car moving at up to 100km/h, the Burmese became wedged behind the grille and travelled for 35km plastered across the front of the car.
But despite his dangerous hitch-hike, Bekkum came out unscathed and remarkably unfazed, according to rescuers.
The cat was hit on Friday on State Highway 8 near Roxburgh, and discovered in Alexandra.
Rescuers with bolt-cutters took half an hour to free him.
"He was remarkably unfazed by it all and even more amazingly, uninjured," SPCA inspector Helen Saunders, of Alexandra, said.
"Some Dunedin people were driving to Wanaka and they thought they'd hit a rabbit, on the highway, this [the Alexandra] side of Roxburgh, in the 100km/h zone.
"They had no idea it was a cat until they stopped to use the toilet at Alexandra, and heard what sounded like a cat meowing, in the front of their car."
The Subaru's licence plate was buckled by the collision and part of the front spoiler was broken on impact, with the cat being forced behind the grille, "squashed in really tight", she said.
"You can only imagine what the wind chill was like, travelling at up to 100km/h at night, plastered across the front of the car ...
"I don't know how he remained so remarkably calm; he wasn't traumatised at all," Mrs Saunders said.
Fortunately the cat was "well-covered - well-muscled and chunky" which helped him survive the impact.
Freeing him from the vehicle was no easy task.
Mrs Saunders was contacted about 10pm and brought bolt cutters to "attack the grille" but some local youths buying petrol at the nearby garage also came to help, with some more tools.
Between them, the group "dismantled some of the bottom of the car" and finally extracted the cat.
"And those lads even followed me to the vets, bless them, to check the cat was okay," she said.
Bekkum was checked at Central Vets, and aside from a scrape on one claw, and some bruising, he was unscathed.
He spent the night at the SPCA cattery as they had no idea who his owners were. The vet rang Mrs Saunders the next day to say a Burmese cat, owned by Gaynor and Michael Crabbe, of Coal Creek, near Roxburgh, was on their books.
The Crabbes, who live beside the main highway, were called to see if their cat was missing, and he was.
They had not been worried by his disappearance as it was common for him to vanish for a day or two.
After hearing the hitch-hiking cat's exploits, they travelled to the cattery on Saturday. "Did you miss your Mum and Dad?" Mrs Crabbe asked, as Bekkum cuddled in when she picked him up.
The 7-year-old cat was fond of travelling in cars and on trailers, and occasionally even on top of cars, and had "hitched" on several short rides around Roxburgh.
"This was a big adventure, though, and it's amazing to think he hasn't got a mark on him."
- Otago Daily TimesBy Lynda van Kempen