As It Happens

How 'Sparky' survived a 100 km trip in van engine

A London cat is set to return home after a 100 km journey, trapped in the engine block of a moving van. As It Happens host Carol Off speak with Helena Peace of the Reading branch of the Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.
"Sparky" awaits rescue. (RSPCA)
Listen5:35

A London cat is set to return home after a 100 km journey, trapped in the engine block of a moving van.

Sparky, as he's come to be called, is lucky to be alive according to Helena Peace of the Reading branch of the Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals. He had travelled from Tottenham, London to Reading, Birkshire.
"Sparky" freed from the engine. (RSPCA)

Peace tells As It Happens host Carol Off that a local man, "noticed a member of the public with a broom, on a van, and he was poking it up into the engine."

"The van had broken down and there was a cat stuck in the engine compartment. The cat was absolutely frozen with fear but he was very hot and he had very hot paws. So it took them about half an hour to destress the cat."

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"We believe the car had driven about 60 miles. And we were really lucky that the van had broken down. He could have been in there a considerably longer time and he could have then suffered some very nasty injuries, if not died."

Word of Sparky's adventure quickly spread on social media, and eventually found its way to his home back in London.  "The owners were just absolutely overjoyed."

It turns out Sparky's real name is Simba.

Peace says "Sparky is doing amazing after his ordeal. He's in really good condition and he's just the most fascinating cat. He's just full of personality and love."

But his adventure hasn't left him entirely unscathed. "He's now been neutered and chipped so if he does have some adventures again in the future we can easily trace him back within a few minutes to his owner. And the positive thing about neutering, especially with male cats, is that it tends to stop them roaming so much. So, hopefully he will behave himself in the future."

For more on Sparky's harrowing journey, listen to our full interview.

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