A cat may have travelled some 80 miles while wedged in the air vent of a family car.
The male tabby was only noticed when the family parked up in Clacton-on-Sea and could have been inside the grille of the Ford Focus for up to two days.
Steven Kane, the owner of the car, said: “We’d pulled up at the seafront and I was playing on the green with my brother’s little girl when I looked up and spotted him.
“He is lucky that I saw him. I have no idea where we picked up our little hitchhiker, it could have been anywhere.”
RSPCA inspector Lucy Brennan attended the scene and contacted the AA to free the cat.
“The cat was trapped in the grille of the car and the driver was unsure how long he had been there or where he had come from,” said Ms Brennan, revealing the cat has been named Ford by the charity.
“As the family had been driving around quite a lot on their holidays, from Stevenage to Clacton, he wasn’t sure where the cat may have hitched a ride during the last couple of days but the car had driven around 80 miles.
“Luckily, the cat didn’t appear to be injured but he was well and truly trapped. We contacted the AA who came out to carefully dismantle the car by taking out the headlights and bumper and freeing the poor moggy.
“He was very smelly and very hungry. The AA explained that even if the cat had been trapped when the motorist was driving the car, luckily the area he was in has no moving parts and doesn’t get hot when the engine is on. Having said that, it must have been quite an ordeal for poor Ford.”
Ford has been checked over by staff at the RSPCA Danaher branch where an existing problem with his tail was spotted. It will need amputating.
If he is not claimed, he will eventually be put up for adoption.
“I think we were all relieved he was rescued and my brother really wants to adopt him now,” added Mr Kane.