Strange noise was kitten clinging on under car

By Cherie Taylor

Some motors purr but Ashley Chand's Mitsubishi Airtrek meows.

When the Rotorua Bond and Bond worker recently heard meowing coming from beneath his car he told passengers, including an aunt, it was just his car warming up.

But the noise didn't stop as he headed home from his work in Central Mall to Western Heights.

"My aunty told me to the turn the car off and look. We opened the bonnet but the noise had stopped and we couldn't find anything," Mr Chand said.

However, by the time they got to the traffic lights on the corner of Ranolf St and Amohau St, the sound had turned to a high-pitched wail.

"My aunty hung her head out the window and asked another motorist if he could hear the noise," Mr Chand said. "He said my car sounded like a cat. We laughed and carried on driving."

However, about 1km down the road he stopped and, much to his shock, discovered a tiny, fluffy grey kitten balancing on the inside axle hub of his front right wheel. "I just thought it was the motor warming up when I started the car until the meow became more like a cry. It just got louder and louder. We jumped out and searched for it. It was behind the rotors, right next to the axle," he said.

"We'd gone over bumps and through roundabouts. The poor thing must have been clinging on."

His aunt grabbed the kitten and took it for Mr Chand's two nephews, Titan Wiringi, 5, and Kingston Wiringi, 3.

"They just love it ... We decided to call it Airtrek after the car," he said, laughing.

Meanwhile, he believed the kitten must have been dumped at the mall carpark.

"It must have just been left to fend for itself. That's sad," he said.

Rotorua SPCA worker Lisa Reedy said it was not the first time she had heard of a cat being found travelling underneath a car. A kitten they helped rescue from the engine bay of one car had travelled for about two hours beneath it and had burn marks on its body, Ms Reedy said.

"It was quite traumatised," she said. "They hop in there because it's nice and warm and safe. You just don't know how long it had been there."

She isn't convinced Airtrek was dumped at the mall carpark, though. It could have been part of a stray cat's litter or come from a nearby home.

"I'd be surprised. There are a few residential areas around there. It is a place where there is food," she said.

However, when people found animals they should notify the SPCA, Ms Reedy said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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