April 2, 2016 – The Royal New Zealand Society for the Protection of Animals (RNZPCA) is appealing to car owners to be aware that cats can sometimes sleep under car bonnets to stay warm as the colder weather approaches.

Unfortunately when the motor starts, the car’s fan belt can injure or kill a cat. The heat of the engine can also cause severe burns. The RNZSPCA Chief Scientific Officer Arnja Dale said when the weather gets colder where we see an increase of incidences such of as these.

In colder weather, it’s not uncommon for a cat to crawl under the warm bonnet of a parked car as cats are drawn to the warmth of the engine compartment and the protection from wind, rain and other animals. The crafty cats managed to get into the car by climbing onto the tires and then up through the wheel shaft.

Here are some ways to prevent injuring a hidden kitty:
– Before getting into your vehicle look under your car for cats seeking shelter there, including on the top of the wheels and in the engine
– Bang loudly on the bonnet of the car also make some sort of noise before getting into the vehicle
– When you get into your car before you start the engine toot your horn to give cats enough time to get out of whatever space in the vehicle they may be in
– It’s better to keep your car parked in the garage with the garage door closed, which won’t allow cats access to the garage
– If you turn on your car and hear any unusual noise, immediately turn off the engine and check under the bonnet for any invited guests that may have taken cover from the elements overnight
– The RNZSPCA strongly recommends that if a cat has been injured as a result of sleeping in a car engine it is immediately taken to the nearest veterinary clinic

Photo: Minnie the diva cat (her owner’s words) looking for a warm place for a snooze

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