What an exhausting evening we’ve had, desperately trying to free a kitten trapped inside a car in Frances Street, Woolwich for over five hours, and not making it home until 1 AM. It was all absolutely worth it, of course, to have Polo safe (the name given to the kitten by one of the wonderful fireman that helped save his life), but what an ordeal!
A passerby got in touch with the GWN after they noticed loud meows coming from a car in Woolwich, and myself, Fran, Lisa and Dave set out to investigate. After a similarly difficult rescue involving a rabbit stuck in a car engine last year, we knew we were facing a real challenge.
Searching under the car with torches and trying to lure the kitten out with food and recordings of cats crying on YouTube proved fruitless, so we then attempted to find the car’s owner via social media and by knocking on doors. When this was equally ineffective, we had no option but to call the fire brigade.
As always, London Fire Brigade were amazing - the firefighters arrived in minutes and were kind and attentive. Like us, they exhausted every angle trying to rescue the kitten, but could not jack the car up to look underneath it without the owner’s permission, for fear of damaging the vehicle. To trace the owner via the car’s registration required contacting the police, which we promptly did. An hour of hopelessly waiting in the cold later, it was clear that the police were not able to come back to us quickly with the car owner’s details, so LFB had little choice but to leave until we received some news.
With the kitten still crying pitifully from inside the car, we couldn’t bear to leave just yet ourselves. We continued to try luring the kitten out over the next few hours, hoping the owner would return to their car in the meantime. Then we had a stroke of luck - a police car drove by, and we frantically flagged it down.
The police were also great; without hesitation they traced the owner of the car, who lived nearby, and immediately collected her from his house. The owner of the car was obviously bewildered at having the police knock on his door in the middle of the night with such a bizarre tale, but she was extremely patient throughout the many hours of standing in the cold that ensued, and obliging at having parts temporarily removed from his car. Not everyone would have been so cooperative, so we owe her a huge thank you.
Now we finally had permission from the owner to access the car, the fire brigade returned and immediately opened the car bonnet and used a car jack to get underneath it. I wish I could say that we were then able to quickly rescue the kitten, but that wasn’t the case. Over the next few hours various parts were removed from the car and we tried everything imaginable to catch the pesky cat, but she kept moving from one awkward, unreachable spot to another; it was incredibly frustrating and we were all desperate for a wee. Until finally, FINALLY, the fire fighters were able to direct the kitten into a corner where I could grab her, and drag her out with some very angry yowls and a few scratches.
We were so relieved and grateful; that the kitten was saved and that we could also finally go home to pee. We owe a huge, huge thank you to everyone that helped save this little life - the car’s owner, the police, and of course the heroes at London Fire Brigade.
Since the kitten is far too young to be out and is riddled with fleas, we suspect she is a stray. In a weird way, she’s lucky - she’s potentially been spared a life on the streets by putting herself in such an in uncompromising position (and us through hell!) A happier life now awaits her.