A TINY kitten thought to have been abandoned had a ‘frightening’ trip under an Alton woman’s car bonnet.
RSPCA inspector Laura Bryant was called out to Cheadle last week after the six-week old cat was discovered curled up near the car’s engine.
The driver had travelled to the Staffordshire Moorlands town from her home in Alton.
Ms Bryant said she suspected the kitten had been abandoned by his owner and crawled under the bonnet to find warmth as the cold snap sets in.
Now RSPCA North Staffordshire is calling on the owner of the animal, who has been named Santa, his former owner or a new owner to come forward to help him.
Firefighters neighbouring the supermarket car park where Santa was found had already helped extract the petrified puss when Ms Bryant arrived on the scene.
She said: “The driver, who was from Alton, called us up when she heard the poor thing ‘meowing’ from under her bonnet.
“He was extremely rattled as a result of the journey but his behaviour suggests to me that he’s been through some hardship and I suspect he’d been abandoned.
“Santa’s currently staying with me and my colleague and has taken up residence in my spare room.
“We’d have liked to have put him in with a litter as that would be his natural environment at his age.
“If he’d been living on the streets, it must have been absolutely awful for him.
“He’s come out of his shell a little now and just needs some love and attention so he can rebuild his confidence.”
Ms Bryant said it was not unusual for families to abandon their pets as Christmas approaches.
She said the financial strain associated with this time of year often sees ‘unwanted arrivals’ cast out to the streets.
She said: “It’s really sad to see domestic animals living out on the streets in these kind of temperatures and it starts to happen more often in the winter months.”
Anyone interested in offering Santa, or any other rescue animals, a home is asked to call the RSPCA’s North Staffordshire branch on 01538 388604.