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Feline Stowaway Survives 400-Mile Road Trip

A tiny kitten hid inside an Arizona couple's bumper for a long and perilous journey to find his forever home.

 |  Jun 25th 2012  |   7 Contributions


Russ and Tracy Perry of Phoenix, Arizona, were getting ready for a road trip to visit a relative in southern California when Russ heard a meowing sound from the front end of his car.

At first he thought a cat was stuck in the engine compartment, so he opened the hood to check it out. He didn't see any evidence of feline presence, so he got in the car and off the couple went.

But when they made a pit stop at Quartzsite, Arizona, Russ once again heard the crying cat. And once again he checked under the hood, only to find an engine -- and nothing else. Then Russ and Tracy looked in the wheel wells and under the car, and they still didn't see anything.

"When we got out of the car and I heard the meow again, it sounded like it was literally in the bumper," Russ said.

Their next stop was in Indio, California. The meows were still coming from somewhere in the front of the car, so the couple made another thorough inspection.

Next stop: Canyon Country, California, home of Tracy's sister-in-law.

Now the meows were getting more desperate.

If the cat really was trapped inside the bumper, the family had no idea how it had gotten in there and how they could get it out. They contacted a repair shop in the nearby town of Newhall and explained their rather unusual car problem.

Mechanic Jay Tallent got under the car and started looking around the plastic guard that protects the underside of the bumper. After a little bit of digging, he pulled out a sweet and healthy -- if a bit hungry, thirsty, and traumatized by his unexpected road trip -- 5-week-old black kitten.

Car mechanic Jay Tallentt pulls a 5-week-old kitten from inside the bumper of Russ and Tracy Perry's car. Image: Screen capture from KPNX-TV video via USA Today

You know how cats have an amazing ability to show up at just the right times, in just the right places, to be there for the people who need them?

Well, it turns out that Tallent is a cat lover, and his 15-year-old black cat had died just a few weeks earlier. When he saw the little hitchhiker, he fell in love and offered to adopt the four-legged stowaway.

Today the kitten, who is now named Phoenix in honor of his home town, is enjoying a very comfortable life with his adoptive dad. And remember: Before setting off on a long drive, always bang on the hood of your car. You might save a cat an uncomfortable ordeal.

Source: USA Today

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