Purring engine turns out to be kitten under the hood

A Wetaskiwin woman who heard a noise coming from her engine that turned out to be a kitten says it's a miracle the cat survived after being trapped under the hood.

‘We named him Jiffy because we saved his life at Jiffy Lube’

Tanya Marceau (left) and Khrystyna Koval comforting the kitten they pulled free from under the hood of Koval's Honda Civic Wednesday. (Jiffy Lube)

Khrystyna Koval thought something was wrong with her car when she heard a squeaky noise coming from the engine after dropping off her daughter at school in Wetaskiwin.

But after she opened the window it became clear it wasn't coming from the vehicle.

"I could hear a cat meowing somewhere in my car," Koval said.

Worried the cat might be in danger, she scrambled to the nearest automotive shop to ask for help.

Koval pulled into the Jiffy Lube as manager Blair Backman was working on another vehicle Wednesday morning.

"She pulled up to the door, she kind of looked a little frantic," said Backman. "We opened up the hood and sure enough right in the back you could kind of spot him."

Kitten rescue from under a car hood

6 years ago
Duration 0:38
When Khrystyna Koval heard her engine purr, she brought it to a mechanic. Turns out, it was a kitten making the sound and not the vehicle.

Initially, Backman crawled underneath Koval's Honda Civic to try to perform the rescue but couldn't get his hands into the cramped space.

That's when Tanya Marceau, who was paying the bill for her oil change in another repair bay, stepped in to help.

"I've got skinny arms and the poor cat was wedged right in at the very back of the engine," Marceau said.

Aided by Backman guiding her from underneath the car, Marceau pushed and pulled to try to free the cat, which by now was tangled in wiring next to the air filter.
Jiffy Lube manager Blair Backman said the trapped kitten was stuck behind the air filter under the hood, just far enough away from the heat of the car's engine. (Jiffy Lube)

Rescue took 20 minutes

"His head was stuck between wires and his arm was hooked around. There was a tube around his waist," Marceau said.

With hardly any room to maneuver in the confined space, Marceau worked away for about 20 minutes before she was able to pull the cat to freedom.

"He started meowing right away and it was like, he's alive," she said. "He just wanted to cuddle and curled right up in my neck."

That cat has nine lives- Khrystyna Koval

Koval said there were no signs of any injury to the cat who she now thinks climbed up into the engine when the car was parked overnight in her yard.

"That cat has nine lives," she laughed. "It's a miracle." 

Seeing the cat's big loving eyes glued to Marceau, Koval asked her if she wanted to take it home.

That worked out perfectly, given she's a cat lover with a daughter who's been pining for a kitten.

Koval and Marceau think the kitten is a couple of months old. (Supplied)

But before heading home with her new pet, the pair decided to give it a name.

They kicked around the idea of Diesel at first but dropped that in favour of something they figured was more well-suited.

"We named him Jiffy because we saved his life at Jiffy Lube," said Koval.

Backman has seen mice and other tiny critters trapped under vehicle hoods before but never a cat.

He's thrilled his shop's name will be remembered every time its name is called.

"Everyone had a good smile over that and I thought it was pretty cute and it seemed quite fitting," he said.

Jiffy is temporarily staying with Marceau's sister while she moves house, and that's also proven well-timed since her own cat just had kittens.

"The mother adopted it right away and it's around six other kittens now," she said.

Koval said she's happy Jiffy's unhurt and in a new loving home, but she now wonders if she has to check underneath her car every morning to make sure no other animals are trapped in there.