Kitten rescued after 170 miles in car's engine compartment

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ANTELOPE VALLEY, Calif. (KOLO) - Tish Elliott thought a small kitten that had run under her car had escaped unseen. Three days and 170 miles later, she was hearing strange noises from under her car's hood.

(L-R): Antelope Valley, CA Fire Capt. Josh Polido, Rick Ford, Kenny Morrison, David Glenn. Photo courtesy Wade Rowley.

As she tells it, she was stopped in a turn lane on US 395 at the south end of Gardnerville when she saw a small kitten run under her car. She and another driver stopped to see if it was O.K.

"I opened my door and I heard a meow, so I knew there was something. I looked underneath and I couldn't find the kitten," she said.

She drove to a nearby tire shop and they put her car up on a lift to take a look.

"And they told me there was no kitten and it would be too hot in the engine compartment for a kitten to survive anyway," she said.

So, convinced the kitten had run unseen and hopefully unhurt into a nearby field, she drove home to South Lake Tahoe. Over the next three days she would have reason to wonder though.

As she drove back and forth between her home and her mother's in the Walker-Coleville, California area, she occasionally thought she was hearing a faint meowing from somewhere in her car. But looking again and again, she could see no kitten.

"It wasn't until the third day that I saw a kitten on the ground and it went back up into my engine," she said.

The next day, she needed the car, but when she looked once more couldn't find it.

"I thought, when you're in trouble, you call the fire department. So I called the Antelope Valley Fire Department," she said.

"It was sort of a, 'We're going to go do what?'" remembered firefighter Rick Ford. But there was no argument about going on the call.

"Oh, heavens no. That's our job," he said.

On the way, four firemen speculated on where the kitten might be and what they'd have to do to find it. Among them was David Glenn, known around the fire station as 'Sid.

"I guess I resemble Sid the Sloth from Ice Age a little bit," he explained. "They were just thinking of a nickname and it just kind of stuck."

Whatever. Just remember that nickname; it shows up later in our story.

Lifting the hood on Tish's Honda, at first they saw nothing.

"I started poking around with a flashlight and all I could see, a little bit of fur," said Ford.

The kitten was crawling further into a crevice behind the front wheel.

"I've got these big old hands," said Ford. "I couldn't get in there."

With the smallest hands in the crew, the job of extraction fell to Sid. The little kitten had wormed his way into a small space behind the passenger side tire. Pulling back a wheel well guard, he finally got his hand on the furry little body. It wasn't easy.

"Its claws were just sticking right into it and every time I'd get an inch, it would pull back a foot. And as soon as I got it out it went to bite my thumb, but I had my gloves on so I couldn't feel it," he explained.

So the rescue was successful. The kitten was safe, but now what? You want a story like this to have a happy ending.

Nobody wanted it to go to the animal shelter. But one of the firemen decided his family needed a new addition.

"It went to a great home," said Glenn. "His kid loves it. His wife is in love with the cat and it gets along with their dog, which is kind of weird."

So, the kitten is none the worse for his adventure and has a happy home. He also has a name, Sid, after his rescuer.

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