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!
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.
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??