MELBOURNE - A five-week-old stray kitten had to be rescued by Melbourne firefighters after surviving a 25km ordeal stuck inside a car engine.
The feline, nicknamed "Honda", climbed into the front area of the car before the owner drove to work from Deer Park to Parkville in Melbourne with the unexpected passenger in tow, ABC News Australia reported.
When the driver began her return trip 12 hours later, she heard meowing coming from the engine and drove to the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne.
A crew from the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) was then called in to rescue the kitten from behind the front grille on Tuesday (May 17) .
On its Facebook page, MFB said it was "well purr-pared for this slightly hairy rescue". Armed with torches, a toolbox and wearing gloves, officers took more than one hour to locate and extricate the kitten.
However, firefighter Sam Jennens told ABC the feline stowaway was not too happy to be rescued, noting that "we came out with a few bites and scratches".
"The call came through the cat was stuck behind the radiator, but when we got there we didn't even know whether it was still in there or not because we couldn't hear it anymore," he said.
"The car owner did all the right things and it was lucky the car was parked at the animal hospital because they had a team around the car ready with a box and towels, ready to grab the cat in case it tried to run away."
Mr Jennens expressed surprise at how the kitten survived the trip: "I'd say this cat has used up one of its nine lives, that's for sure."
A Lort Smith spokesman said Honda escaped with minor burns and has since been reunited with its mother.
"Despite having travelled from Deer Park to Parkville stuck in the engine of the car and then spending another eight or nine hours in the car… Honda was in surprisingly good condition," the hospital said in a statement.
"He sustained minor burns to the back paw pads which were treated and pain relief was provided.
"He was also very hungry and enjoyed a big bowl of food before being released."