Cats, Winter, and the Car Engine

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By Adrea

Maine Coon in snow

The Arizona Humane Society reported that in mid-November a cat suffered burns and large wounds all over its body as a result from climbing onto the engine of a Volkswagen Beetle.  The owner of the vehicle turned the car off immediately upon hearing the cat’s cries when the engine started.  On lifting the hood, a Maine Coon peered back from behind the engine.  Most likely, the cat was looking for somewhere warm to curl up for the night.

Cats like to get into tight, warm places and hide.  It’s in their nature and while that seems to be a typical character trait for most, WebMD warns there are 5 places that are dangerous for cats and from which they should be kept away.

  • Clothes Washer/Dryer- Avoid cats becoming seriously injured or having a fatality by keeping the doors tightly shut and always remember to check inside before starting a cycle. Refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens fall into the same category and double-check that someone isn’t hiding in the laundry hamper when you go to dump in the wash
  • Garage- In addition to the aforementioned hiding in the engine, pesticides and hazardous chemicals are not only likely stored there, but can leak out of the car or any equipment. Anti-freeze is of particular concern because of its sweet taste.  Keep access to the garage blocked and  if you think kitty has gotten out there, gently honk their horn or knock on the hood to make sure there aren’t any stow-aways tucked up on the engine and make sure they get out safely
  • Drawers, Cabinets, Cupboards-Fun to hide in, but there’s great risk in becoming hurt or trapped or both. The obvious is keeping those places closed, but consider childproof locks, too, especially where any chemicals may be kept
  • Balconies and Open Window- Cats may have a reputation for landing on their feet, but they can get severe injuries from falling. Put in screens the animals can’t dislodge and either monitor time on or block off balconies
  • Rafters- Cats do like to be in high places, but they can still get injured from a fall. Create safe places for them to climb so they can sleep and watch the world go by

Cats need a good, safe environment, the same as anyone.  Sometimes, however, because of their ability to balance, leap, and climb with such ease, owners forget their cats could be in a dangerous situation.  A little thoughtfulness and care will keep our pets with us for a long time.

As to the Maine Coon, who’s been named VeeDub, the AHS says he is making a full recovery and the sweet kitty will be available for adoption soon.  The story ends well for VeeDub, even more so when he finds his forever home.  However, at this time of year  in particular as they days grow colder,  it is very important to remind everyone who parks their vehicles outside, or even in garage into which animals have access, to knock or beep before starting their cars to make sure all animals are safely out of harm’s way.

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