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Kitten's Ride in Engine Compartment Ends After Parking Lot Rescue

After stopping for lunch at the Panera Bread in Lower Nazareth Township, a mother and daughter from Palmer Township are forced to take action when they notice their car starts to... meow.

How do those “Born to be Wild” lyrics go? 

Get your motor running, head out on the highway,
Looking for adventure in whatever comes our way. 

Ah, yes. I’m sure those were the exact lyrics playing through the mind of the 2.2 pound kitten who decided to hitch a ride -- for just under 10 miles -- inside the engine compartment of a Palmer Township woman’s car. 

If you think the kitten was surprised by her suddenly traveling napping spot, imagine what went through the minds of 17-year-old Katie Miller and her mother, Karen, when they stopped for lunch Tuesday afternoon at the in and realized their car was… meowing.

According to Karen Miller, she and her daughter had arrived at the Panera Bread in the Northampton Crossings shopping center a few minutes before 11 a.m. They planned to meet friends for lunch.

When the mother and daughter walked around the front of their car, they heard a noise.

“My daughter said, ‘Oh, is that my car making that noise?’” Karen Miller recalled.

After the noise sounded again -- it sounded like a “meow” -- Katie Miller thought, “Oh, no, Mom! You hit a cat!” 

Karen Miller didn’t remember crossing paths with a cat or any other furry creatures. Instead, she immediately thought that it’s common for cats to enjoy the warmth of an engine compartment, so that was probably where the noise was coming from.

When Karen Miller popped the hood, a greasy black and white kitten stared back at her.

Scared, the kitten scurried deep into the car -- to the undercarriage.

While trying to coax the kitten out, Karen Miller called 911 for assistance, hoping someone from the local SPCA would show. 

Instead, Officer T.J. Mahalick from rolled up. Lower Nazareth Township, however, does not have a contract with the Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township and does not handle cats, according to Timm Tenges, the township’s manager.

While Mahalick stuck around to offer guidance on what the next steps could be, several women passing by stepped in and took charge -- including the editor of Nazareth Patch.

Yes. Me.

After visiting the vampires at , I planned to meet Palmer-Forks editor Dino Ciliberti for lunch/work at Panera Bread. 

BUT, before I was able to order the broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl that I was craving, I spotted about five women running -- really, they were -- around a car.

I get paid to be nosey. I went over and started being nosey.

So, in addition to putting on my editor hat, I quickly decided that I also wanted to help with the rescue, which went like this:

A Panera Bread employee ran inside and grabbed milk, hoping the kitten could be enticed out of the vehicle. We stationed ourselves all around the car, prepared to grab the little bugger if the milk plan succeeded.

When the kitten finally exited the vehicle, she bolted. And none of us grabbed her in time. The kitten made a mad dash for next door, and we thought that was the end of the story. Some of us were afraid to follow, not wanting to see her get hit by a car.

However, that was not the end. The little bugger found herself another car, this one in the McDonald’s parking lot, to hide in.

Someone found the owner of the vehicle, who popped the hood. I happened to be standing in front of the car when the hood was lifted... there was the kitten...

I pounced. I grabbed her. I had her! How’s that for cat-like reflexes?

And instead of leaving with lunch, I left Panera Bread with a new travel companion. 

Karen Miller said her home is at its “limit” with three dogs, three cats, a rabbit and a pond with assorted fish.

“If I had been down an animal, I absolutely would have taken her home,” Karen Miller said.

So off I went to . Even though the vet I normally use is located in New Jersey, Nazareth graciously let me and my new-found friend schedule an appointment for later in the day.

“Motor,” as I have come to affectionately call her, weighs a whopping 2.2 pounds. She is estimated to be about 9-10 weeks old.

And other than a small cut on one of her paws, she’s OK! She tested negative for leukemia and feline AIDS, though she’ll need to be tested again before she is spayed.

The doctor was actually unable to get a good check of the kitten's heartbeat because of the non-stop -- and loud -- purring.

Her internal motor certainly works just fine.

As for where "Motor" came from? Karen and Katie Miller speculate she hopped on board Monday night when Katie, who is entering her senior year at , was watching a friend play softball at the .

According to Karen, one of Katie's Facebook friends said they had previously seen cats and kittens -- including a black and white kitten -- running amok at the park.

Despite a packed parking lot, Katie's car was this kitten's hot ticket out of a Forks Township park, and into a home in Bushkill Township.

What do you, the readers of Nazareth Patch, think of the name "Motor"? Like? Dislike? Suggestions? Shout them out in the comment section below!

Dino Ciliberti (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
This is such a fabulous story Mallory!
Brenda Merkle June 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM
How kind of all of you are for aiding the helpless kitten......and for giving it a loving home.
Cynthia June 27, 2012 at 07:07 PM
What a lovely and entertaining story! And how lucky she is to have found a home with you and the girls! Now about that name ...
Kim June 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Thank you to everyone who helped that little kitten. There are still kind people in the world!
Karen Miller June 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Thank you for sharing this story. Katie and I are so happy that the kitten found a loving home with you.
Becky Butz June 28, 2012 at 02:31 AM
What a great story! Thanks Mallory for taking in the little creature! Good luck with MOTOR!!!
Mallory Vough (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 01:29 PM
It's amazing how an ordinary day can change so rapidly - for the better! After two nights of the non-feral life, Motor is doing really well. She's eating like a horse and testing out different toys. She likes a stuffed mouse with a bell on its tail. Not so great at 3 a.m.! Her trust in humans is also improving, so she isn't so quick to scurry to a dark corner when we approach. Progress!
Dino Ciliberti (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Yeah and I got blown off for lunch with you! You don't hear "I had to go rescue a kitten" as an excuse that often.
sherry June 29, 2012 at 01:39 AM
so glad the kitten was okay and found a home. Thank you for your kindness.
Ben Miller June 29, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Great story and you're a great person!

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