The title comes from Twitter and it accompanies one of the best photographs that I have seen (and I have seen a lot) of cats inside the engine compartment, entangled with the engine, of vehicles. It’s a bit scary to look at this because you can see how devastating the injuries can be when you start up the engine.
The recommendation is to tap the car hood before you get into the car. This may cause the cats inside to vocalise if they are in there. I don’t think this test is 100% guaranteed to work but it is better than ignoring the possibility completely. It’s the kind of situation that car owners will naturally ignore. You can’t blame them.
The only guaranteed way to check whether there are cats or a cat in your engine compartment is to lift the hood and have a look. Pretty well nobody is going to do that on a freezing cold winter morning. So, despite best intentions cats are going to be injured.
Scenario: it’s a very cold morning and they are in a rush. They are working on autopilot and don’t think about what might be under the bonnet. I don’t think about this possibility. So, it takes a bit of self-discipline to think about it. We have to train ourselves to open our minds to accept that it may happen.
I also suspect that the problem of young cats in particular crawling into spaces within the engine may occur more often in certain parts of the world. I guess that is obvious because if it’s very cold in winter in say Chicago, USA then it is more likely that you’ll find a kitten or even a mother with a kitten within your engine compartment.
So, we’re looking at cold winter climates. The problem may be limited to those areas where it is very cold, sub-zero, in winter which forces cats to find warmth.
Once again, the root cause of the problem is irresponsible cat ownership creating unwanted, stray cats. It’s boring to state that but you have to go back to root to get to the bottom of the problem. Protecting cats who crawl into engines is a reactive measure to save them from injury but the proactive, long-term solution is to dramatically improve companion animal ownership standards. Maybe it is time for legislation to achieve that?
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