It’s Kind of a Long Story

I was out-of-town for a couple of days visiting my friend Marcia in Santa Rosa. When I got home Friday evening, Mike said all was okay, but that he and my son thought they were hearing things.

“Things” they said, sounded just like a cat’s meow coming from inside Mike’s car. The sound was neither loud nor repetitive so they chalked it up to a song playing through Mike’s phone. Mike drove our son to school Friday morning, then drove across town to work. Late that afternoon they both heard it, but again, couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Shortly before I walked in the door, Mike heard the sound coming through the living room wall. Our living room faces the back wall of our garage.

As the two of them finished the story, the three of us traipsed out to the garage and stood listening for a tell-tale meow. Nothing.

At this point, Mouse the Cat started demanding “where-have-you-been-how-dare-you-leave- town”, circling the wagons so to speak. We took a 15 minute walk around the block, an evening ritual that leaves kitty tired and content. We’ve grown used to the stares and comments by now and when asked simply joke that we’re “walking our dog.”

Back home, my kitty radar had piqued. If there really was a cat in Mike’s car, I needed to know. I suggested we sit quietly in the back seat for a while and just listen.

As an aside, I wonder sometimes what things look like to a casual observer: “Oh look, Mike and Alys are sitting in the garage in the back seat of Mike’s car having a chat.”

Within minutes, we both heard the meow. It seemed to be coming from the front of the car. Mike drives an electric car called a Tesla. It’s assembled differently from a traditional car, so when you pop the hood where the motor would typically be, there is an open storage space instead.

We popped the hood…and found nothing. We searched the interior of the car, the trunk, the front compartment, and I even crawled under the front of the car to see if there was an access point we’d missed. There are two holes under the carriage of the car, but neither one of them large enough for a cat to gain access.

We coaxed and cooed and called “kitty-kitty” to no avail. Somehow, somewhere a cat remained trapped somewhere in the inner workings of the car.

I felt sick.

My son Googled “cat stuck in Tesla” and he got a match. Sure enough, someone captured this video of a cat as they freed it from inside the inner workings of the car.

It’s a different model than ours, but suddenly it seemed possible.

It was after 9 now on a Friday night so there was nothing further to be done. If there was a cat inside the car, it had now been in there for over 12 hours. We left food and water under the car and went to bed, sleeping fitfully.

We drove to the Tesla Service Center in Santa Clara Saturday morning and expressed our fears. They were terrific.  While we waited for the auto mechanic to arrive, two of the service professionals drove the car on to the lift to expose the under carriage. We heard a meow!  They worked quickly to remove one of the wheels and several surrounding parts, then started to remove the covering from the bottom of the car. When the mechanic arrived, he approached the problem from a different angle, removing the lining of the front compartment and several bolts. This exposed a shoe-box sized opening (the auxiliary battery compartment) above the electric panel and one frightened little cat.

I swooped in, nabbed her and immediately placed her in our cat carrier.  Deanna, one of the service technicians escorted me into a quiet waiting room while the team re-assembled the car. Talk about excellent customer service!

Tesla Service Team

Diana, Jimmy and Jake, Tesla Service Team, Santa Clara, California

My son was anxiously waiting at home. He asked the night before “if it’s a cat, can we keep it?”  I blurted out yes, before conferring with Mike, but I needn’t have worried. The desire to keep the cat (before ever meeting her) was unanimous.

It was love at first sight for the lot of us.  Here she is, the little darling, two minutes after her rescue.

kitten in a cat carrier

Safely ensconced in a cat carrier

It’s a holiday weekend here in the states, so our vet won’t reopen till Tuesday. We’re keeping her isolated from Mouse and Lindy till we get a well-kitty checkup, but the rest of us can’t keep our hands off of her. She has a lovely purr and enjoys nuzzling around our necks. Our little darling is a beauty, too, with soft gray kitten eyes and the loveliest markings. Look at that face! She must be quite young but she’s eating solid food so she’s old enough to be away from her mother.  Our postal scale says she weighs 24 ounces or .7 kg.

Our sweet girl has gladdened our hearts and lifted our spirits. We’ll never know her origin story, but we’re happy to have our own story to tell. Welcome to the family, Tessa.

PS: Do you remember this post from February: Loving Cats, Real and Imagined??

Pauline King quote

“It really grew like that? Then it must be a message from the fairies – isn’t it special! I love it! Maybe they are saying there is another kitty on the way ….. 🙂 ❤” – Pauline King, February 11, 2017

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68 thoughts on “It’s Kind of a Long Story

  1. Well, I finished this one in tears! What a beautiful face. She’s a real masked calico!! And of course you had to keep her, good lord, how much clearer can a kitty be? The fairies too are also never wrong 🙂 Well done to your Tesla team too – just wonderful! And I’m sure both Lindy and Mouse will love little Tessa ❤

    PS I came here from writing a post about Orlando – my boy is growing older and I'm #feelingvulnerable so it is just lovely to read your news. Thank you xo

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    • Pauline, I’ve since read your beautiful piece on your charming Orlando. It’s so hard when they reach their declining years. I’ve been there often myself. And yes…you made me laugh…how much clearer can a kitty be? We’re so impressed with the Tesla team. That made us feel at home, honored our concerns and freed the cat. It doesn’t get much better than that. I hope you’re right about Lindy and Mouse. We see the vet today, so I’ll have an update soon.

      Loving arms around you and an extra ear rub for Mr. O. xo

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      • Thank you Alys – my post has brought forth many stories from cat lovers as I knew it would and I feel stronger and more determined to take this little side journey with Mr O with grace and ease.

        Tessa’s darling little face reminds me of an artist who paints cats just like that – I have some paper napkins here which I will hunt out and send you so you can see. As another aside I should tell you that these past two days I have been mucking about, trying to find my way to a ‘style’ of cat drawing that is mine and I too tried variations on the mask, coming up with a blackish side and a brownish side and rejected it as too unrealistic. Then you posted about Tessa 🙂

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  2. She’s a chimera twin! That facial marking is unmistakeable! If you Google ‘chimera twin cat’ and look at Images, you’ll see what I mean, and Wikipedia will give you the medical explanation, but it basically means she was part of a twin in utero and the other half wasn’t viable, so she got the genetic material for both. Apparently it’s a lot more common with calico cats… I reckon your pretty girl is a lucky, lucky little cat. Fingers crossed she’s not microchipped, and then she’s all yours!

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  3. What a story Alys 😀 At least the kitty had the good taste to hide out in a premium brand like a Tesla. Around here the kitty’s all hang around in Hyundai’s. By the looks of her face I thought you might have called her Yin/Yang 😳

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  4. Alys! What a lovely little friend for you and your family and her rescue story is wonderful. My parents had a small rescue dog, named Charlie, with a face marked like Tessa’s….Charlie’s feline cousin?? I’m so glad you found each other!

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  5. My guess is mama put here out because she was so unusual and she went looking for someone to love her so much that they would tear apart a car for her. She won the prize in you guys. And you won the kitten prize. That is the loveliest story I’ve read in quite a while. Makes my heart happy. Giant hugs to all your big hearts.

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  6. There is just so much to love about this story! Starting with the fact that your son googled ” cat stuck in a Tesla” AND that he got a hit!
    Love the folks at the car dealer, the excellent customer service and that sweet little kitty. She sure knew what she was doing when she crawled into y’alls car. Be sure to let us know how her well Kitty check-up goes! Welcome Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, LB. I’m having just as much fun with all these comments as I’ve had playing with Tess. She sees the vet today at 4:20, so I’m holding my breath that all will be well. She’s got a great appetite and a frisky demeanor now so I think she’s adjusting well. She’s a voracious eater too, no doubt needed a bit of catch-up. I’ll keep you posted. Hugs!

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  7. My goodness what a tale! She is a lucky little kitty to have picked your car to be stuck in. Not many would go to the lengths you did to free her. What a beauty she is with her half light and half dark face. All is well that ends well. 😊

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    • Thanks for quoting the Bard, Wilma: “All’s well that ends well” indeed. We adore this sweet little thing, and marvel, too, at her unusual markings. She’s off the vet in a few hours. Right now she’s catching up on some zzz’s. xo

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  8. She is absolutely super model material. I knew that mossy kitty shape was a sign 🙂 You are obviously trying to rival me in the cat lady stakes but how could you possibly say no to that little face. You say she purrs so that’s good as one of ours has stayed mute since crying out for attention for 3 days when she was stuck behind a wall in a barn at 3 weeks old. She doesn’t so much miaow as let out the occasional gasp now and again – probably ruined her voice box.
    I am indebted to Kate for the chimera twin information which, along with the primordial pouch I contributed, can now be added to our ever growing communal cat knowledge.

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  9. She is sooo pretty! What a lovely story with a happy ending! That poor little kitten being trapped in there, but she is not poor any more and seems to have warmed to her loving new family!

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  10. Oh, that face!! It looks like someone took a Sharpie and a ruler right down the center! We have a tortoiseshell cat with a sort of checkerboard pattern on her face but Tessa takes the cake. This story is the best EVER. I would’ve been sick if I heard a meow coming from a car–you folks, and the folks at the service center, are my heroes! Enjoy every moment with the kitten, and tell her I said she’s a very lucky girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kerry, I will relay your message via a soft rub between the ears. =^..^= That perfectly split marking is fascinating to us too. It’s so symmetrical. I would love to see a photo of your checkerboard tortoiseshell. She sounds amazing.

      The only thing that gave us the confidence to drive the car to the mechanic was knowing that the inner workings don’t have the same moving parts as a combustion engine. We’ve all heard those horror stories. That said, we were so nervous on the drive there and incredibly relieved to have her safely out of the car. We all feel lucky. She sees the vet this afternoon. I hope we get the all clear.

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  11. squeal ! ! Omgosh, Alys !! That’s wonderful and Tessa is so beautiful. I’ve been offline for 2 days to finish projects and this is the best part of my whole week! Thank heavens you were able to find her. Poor little baby kitty. How ever did she get stuck I wonder? I’m so relieved sweetness was in Mikes car and has a forever home with you all. I’m so fricken happy!!! A kitty! She looks right at home on the lean of the sofa. Have Lindy and Mouse made room for her in their domains? I can’t wait to meet her in October. I never heard that name Chimera Twin either, but I have seen kitties with similar markings. How interesting. Is she letting you sleep? Is she a lap kitty? I bet she’s really soft. Tell us more and more photo’s please!! Giant hugs all around!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cant’ wait for you to meet her in October. She is the sweetest little thing. I’m so glad it all turned out the way it did. she’s brought so much joy to our lives. She’s not met the resident cats just yet. We wanted to wait for a clean bill of health from the vet first (all clear) and also let her settle in a bit. She loves to be held and she’s having fun playing with M and his friends. They even passed her from tech to tech at the Cat Hospital yesterday. Everyone seems to instantly fall in love with her. The Cat Hospital has been our vet for nearly thirty years so they feel like family. and yes, after the first night of crying, we don’t hear a peep out of her. She’s settling in so well.

      Giant hugs to you, too. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Alys, it was definitely worth reading this “kind of a long story” as kept me so interested in what was happening and ended up amazingly! Hope you find (or found) out there is no chip and this darling Tessa kitty is a member of your family! Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I wonder how Tessa got into the inner workings of the car? (Rhetorical question of course.)

    Anyway, she is beautiful – and chose the right family’s car to hide in!

    How do you charge the Tesla?

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  14. Pingback: Tessa Gets a Clean Bill of Health – Gardening Nirvana

  15. I’ve been absent for far too long! I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that my return is marked by a comment on a most wonderful kitty tale.

    I delighted in reading your edge-of-the-seat account of Tessa’s discovery and rescue. It could easily be said that this addition to your family was “meant to be”. Tessa didn’t make it easy for you, though! She put you to the test! My goodness, what extraordinary efforts were required to bring about the happy outcome! I send resounding applause and kudos to your family — and of course, to the Tesla team — for each one’s part in saving Tessa. And I wish you all much happiness and many wonderful years of love, fun, and adventure together.

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  16. Oh, my goodness! I’m reading your posts in reverse order today, Alys. It’s an amazing tale to discover how Tessa joined your family! She is such a sweetie… and has the most perfect name. Tessa worked so hard to squeeze herself into your Tesla and right your hearts! Enjoy every moment together! ♡

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  17. Oh, I am so happy that Orlando and Siddy’s mom sent me over here. Kitties! I can read about them all day. And this kitten is absolutely adorable! I have five older cats and one foster we found outside, and I am ready to concede foster failure because I can’t imagine not having him although he isn’t yet ready to be petted.

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    • Luanne, how lovely of you to stop by (and to follow my blog, too). That’s always the highest praise. Fostering cats would be enormously challenging. I’ve often said that if I had 100 acres, I would fill it with stray cats and dogs in need of a home. I’ll stop over to see what you are up to. Cheers! Alys

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