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Cats and Cars


Photo by karolina michalowska

Cats and cars can go together in a nasty way. I'm not thinking this time of the fraught journey to the vet in our car with our cat becoming anxious (and us too) in the cat basket on the front seat and panting (the cat I mean).

No, I mean winter, cold weather and warm cars. This is when oudoor cats and cars are a dangerous combination. We know cats like to sit on car hoods (bonnets in the UK) to benefit from the warmth that gently rises from the engine. We see it all the time and if we don't actually see the cat on the bonnet we can sometimes see the muddy paw prints.

The trouble is, cats sometimes like to get a bit closer to the heat, which means getting under the bonnet and this is not to do some repair work. They will sit there keeping warm. It might be the neighbors cat or a stray cat who finds his or her way to a warm spot under your car's hood.
I was reminded of this in part because of the cold weather in London and a story about a cat who disappeared for 3 days only to return with half the skin of her face hanging off. She was still chirpy and friendly but distinctly shocking to look at (for a human at least). Her name is Edgar. She was 4 years old at the time of the accident. 

She had warmed herself up against the engine (not sure if it was the owner's car) and when the car was started the fan belt caught her and tore the skin from her face. The story has a good ending, though. The vet stitched her up and she appears fine. A testament to the quiet endurance and uncomplaining nature of the domestic cat.

What to do to prevent this happening? Maybe we should be aware of the possiblity of this happening and honk the horn when we start up the car on a cold morning (hope the neighbors don't mind) or if we have time and want to be more neighbor friendly, check under the car bonnet.  An intermediate method and probably the best is to bang on the hood a few times. A cat under it will probably jump out pretty smartly. Cats and cars can be a dangerous combo...

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Photos published under creative commons license:  

The second photo down is by kalebdf

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