Winter is one of the most perilous times of the year for stray, feral and outdoor cats. With freezing temperatures, limited food sources and little shelter from the elements, many turn to unusual tactics to keep safe and warm. One such tactic is to hide under car hoods for warmth, and this week, we met a lucky kitten who did just that—and survived a 30 mile journey in the process.
On Tuesday, Robert Promisel of Westchester County, New York, drove into New York City with his wife, Susan. Temperatures dipped below 25 degrees as they parked their car in a garage on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at 9:00 A.M. When they picked the car up a few hours later, they heard a distinct “meow,” but assumed it was coming from somewhere inside the garage. When the meowing continued, they pulled over.
“We checked the trunk, the glove compartment, under the seats. Then we looked under the hood,” Robert recalls. That’s when they first saw the frightened feline.
“Outdoor cats sometimes crawl or sleep under the hood of cars to stay warm,” says Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center. It is likely that the kitten was seeking shelter from the elements when she got stuck in the Promisels' car.
After finding the kitten, Susan remembered that the ASPCA’s hospital was just five blocks away. She walked over immediately and told her story to Stephen Cameron, an intake assistant, who summoned George Harris, a foreman in the ASPCA’s facilities department, and behavior counselors Blair de Jong and Alfonso Sawadan. They headed to the garage with hastily-assembled rescue equipment, including a laser pointer and a can of sardines.
At the scene, George shined a high-powered flashlight under the car and spotted the kitten maneuvering around the engine block, wiggling her way up toward the hood before disappearing. When she meowed, they pinpointed her exact location—wedged behind the battery.
With help from the AAA and 54th Street Auto Center owner Nick Santana, the team was able to work around the engine bay and lift out the battery. Blair then reached in, scruffed the cat, and gently pulled her out. Though scrawny and dirty, the petite, green-eyed Siamese mix appeared unharmed and welcomed the attention. The rescuers named her “Miracle.”
While Miracle’s story is a memorable case, it’s sadly not an unusual one. Pounding on car hoods before starting the engine can give cats or other small animals a chance to escape or make their presence known and could help save lives this winter.
Though Miracle is not currently available for adoption, there are many cats and kittens at the ASPCA looking for a family. Please visit our Adoptable Cats page and consider opening your heart and home to feline friend today.
As the holiday season approaches, we want to take a moment to give thanks. We are thankful for all the animals who have inspired us, we are thankful for all of the lives we have saved, and, most of all, we are thankful for you.
As the oldest animal welfare organization in the country, the ASPCA has accomplished a lot over the last 148 years. But none of it would have been possible without the support of animal-lovers like you. Your donations are what keep us going, and what make it possible for us to save thousands of innocent animals from lives of abuse, abandonment and neglect.
It won’t be long before much of the country is buried under a blanket of white. This is the time of year when negligent animal care can turn into serious, life-threatening emergencies—especially for animals kept outdoors.
When local governments are faced with having to seize a large number of animals, including cats, dogs and horses neglected or abandoned during the winter months, they often turn to the ASPCA for assistance. Through grants and in-person staff deployments, the ASPCA helps sheriff’s offices, shelters and animal control agencies carry out these critical rescue missions.
Agencies around the country rely on the ASPCA’s help an expertise. We have already given 21 large-scale seizure/rehabilitation support grants (total $139,500) to equine rescue groups around the country. We expect these requests to skyrocket as the mercury dips, and winter rescues present unique challenges that can cause expenses to soar.
As you budget your holiday spending and pick out the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, remember the animals who are out there in the cold. Please consider making a donation today to help save at-risk animals this winter and all year long.
Did you know one of the easiest ways you can help support animals might be sitting in your backyard?
When you donate an old or unwanted car, truck, RV or other vehicle to the ASPCA’s Vehicle Donation Program, you’re not only helping save animals from cruelty, but also you’ll get a tax deduction at the same time. Plus, proceeds from every vehicle donated will go towards helping find loving, permanent homes for homeless animals and support the life-saving programs and services we offer millions of animals nationwide.
We accept all vehicles in any condition, from cars, trucks and motorcycles to heavier vehicles like boats, airplanes, farm machinery and equipment. We’ll even arrange free pickup from anywhere in the United States. Once your vehicle is sold, you will receive a tax receipt within days of the sale.
Donating is quick and easy. To get started, enter your vehicle’s information using our Vehicle Donation web form or call us at 877-999-8322 to speak to a representative.
It’s an all around win-win opportunity to help create more happy endings for lives touched by cruelty! But please act soon—the deadline to qualify for the 2014 tax break is December 31.