Phileas Mogg and his amazing 250-mile adventure...
Published 20/11/2015 | 15:41
An adventurous cat has been dubbed Phileas Mogg after an incredible 250-mile journey trapped under the bonnet of a car.
The black cat was driven through two counties, along motorways and even went through a car wash during his adventure.
It finally took the combined efforts of the RSPCA and AA to free Phileas - named after the heroic protagonist from Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days - from his home inside an Audi engine.
The cat is believed to have endured a four-day adventure taking him from Warmingham in Cheshire to nearby Sandbach and Wettenhall, to Bangor-on-Dee racecourse in Wrexham, to Cheltenham racecourse before being rescued in Bristol.
All that time, Phileas is believed to have been trapped under the bonnet of Colin Woodward's Audi A4.
Mr Woodward, who lives in Warmingham, near Crewe, had heard a cat meowing from under his Audi A4, thinking it was a shy feral cat which he feeds.
Before driving off, the retired farmer checked his engine with a torch but because the meowing stopped presumed the cat had gone.
Three days later, Mr Woodward was at a friend's house in Easton-in-Gordano, near Bristol, when he heard the cries again.
"We followed the noise and found him, I couldn't believe my eyes. He was between the front wheel and the headlight, I have no idea how he got in there," Mr Woodward said.
"I felt so sorry for him. I have been driving all over the place since Wednesday, I had no idea he was in there, I'm just relieved he survived.
"I left the bonnet open overnight to see if he would come out but when he didn't I called the RSPCA and the AA for help.
"He's a lovely cat, I do hope he finds his owners. He will certainly have a tale to tell them about his adventure."
Phileas's only scars from the marathon trek were burns to his paws.
After being treated at the RSPCA Bristol Clinic, the animal welfare charity is appealing for his owners to contact them. The cat does not have an identity microchip.
Inspector Simon Coombs pulled the cat from inside the engine and says Phileas is fortunate to have survived.
"He was lucky to escape with some burns to his paws but it could have been far, far worse. I would certainly say if cats really had nine lives he's lost one of them," he said.
"His owners must be worried sick about him and we'd love to reunited them with Phileas. If anyone recognises him please get in touch.
"It looks like Phileas could have travelled about 250 miles, along two motorways, through two countries and even through a car wash before he was found.
"But it's also possible he jumped onboard at some point along the way so his owners could come from any of these places.
"He's a very friendly cat so we'd like to find his owners as soon as possible and get him back home."
Inspector Coombs was helped by AA patrolman Mark Nolan, who had to take the Audi's front wheel off and remove the under-tray so they could reach in and rescue the stowaway.
Mr Nolan, from Bristol, said: "The poor thing was well and truly stuck around some pipework for the intercooler and air-conditioning, so I had to remove the wheel arch to free him.
"It's the third moggy I've rescued - they're attracted to the warmth of an engine bay but, unfortunately, sometimes get stuck due to the cramped space.
"I really hope the owner can be traced as it was such a big, friendly cat - just happy to be rescued."