Kitten Smokey survives 60 mile trip stuck under car bonnet
Meet Smokey - the miraculous moggy that survived a 60-mile journey stuck under the bonnet of a car.
Retired Co Antrim man Harold McClure couldn't believe his eyes when he discovered the little kitten under his bonnet - particularly when it looked like the three-week-old had survived being nestled among the engine for the duration of several journeys and speeds of up to 70mph.
The 75-year-old first came across the kitten when he was driving just outside Carrickfergus last month.
He and another driver were forced to stop suddenly to avoid hitting it in the middle of the road.
"A woman coming the other way saw it too and it ran underneath my car," said Mr McClure.
"Then we got down and we realised the cat had missed the car - it was clear. We couldn't find it anywhere."
Mr McClure spent the rest of the day on the move, heading to the local supermarket, laying flowers in a graveyard, and travelling across bumpy terrain. All together, the Carrickfergus man reckons he travelled some 60 miles.
On arriving home he parked for the night and he and his wife Irene (70) went to bed.
"I left the car overnight and we had the bedroom window open as it was very warm.
"My wife said to me: 'I can hear a cat crying outside', but we thought nothing of it."
When the couple came down in the morning they heard the tell-tale sounds of a kitten once again coming from the bonnet of their car and, upon opening it, found the tiny ball of fur nestled inside.
"We had to get the car up on the ramps to get at it and it was sitting on a wee ledge in at the gearbox," Mr McClure said. After its release the kitten took off across a yard before hiding under the bonnet of a neighbour's car. But Mr McClure managed to grab the frisky feline as it tried to dart away.
"I then brought it up to the vet, got it checked out and it is very well," he said.
"It's doing the best, eating away - it's so small, only three or four weeks old," he said.
The wider McClure family has taken their furry new friend to their hearts - and named it Smokey in a nod to its colouring.
"My wife named it Smokey - it was either going to be that or Lucky.
"It was amazing how far we travelled in the car and it was fine, completely unhurt," he added. His four young grandchildren are besotted with the little ball of fur, and although it hasn't been long, Smokey is already very much part of the family.
Smokey isn't the first pet to have a near death experience.
Curiosity nearly killed Molly the cat in 2006 after she was trapped in the wall of a New York deli for two weeks.
In August 2010 a cat in England called Fudge survived a five-minute cycle in a tumble-dryer.
And a German shepherd puppy was found among rubble 71 days after Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans.