An Ottawa driver pulled over on Thursday morning to top up the car’s windshield wiper fluid, only to discover that a stray cat had hitched a ride across town with her, crouched on top of the engine, the city’s bylaw department said.
Bylaw officers used the curious event to warn residents that small animals may take refuge from this winter’s frigid temperatures “by climbing into the engine of vehicles parked outdoors.”
The stowaway cat travelled from Manotick to Centrepointe — close to a 20-minute commute — underneath the hood of the car, the bylaw department tweeted.
Despite what must have been a hot ride, bylaw spokesperson Alison Sandor said the cat didn’t appear to be hurt. But when a bylaw officer tried to coax it out and grab it, the feline got spooked and climbed further in the car and down to the undercarriage.
The officer told the driver there’s was nothing to do but wait it out.
“We couldn’t get in underneath … so the cat was, last we heard, under the vehicle but has hopefully gotten out,” said Sandor, the public information officer for bylaw and regulatory services.
“It appeared to be in the wheel well of the spare tire so it was not in an area where it was going to get hurt for the time being.”
Sandor said bylaw encouraged the driver to take the cat to the Ottawa Humane Society once it emerged, if possible. Otherwise, bylaw officers can return and take the animal to the shelter themselves, she said.
If they want to avoid a similar situation, Sandor said residents who park their vehicles outdoors can tap the hood of their car before turning on the engine to try and scare off any animals who may have stealthily crept inside.
Residents can always call 311 or visit ottawa.ca if they encounter a stray or injured small animal and need assistance, Sandor said.