Cat travelled four hours in car engine

Rigby, who was found in a car engine in Kidlington after being driven four hours from Eastbourne. He was treated by Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital. NNL-150810-150010001
Rigby, who was found in a car engine in Kidlington after being driven four hours from Eastbourne. He was treated by Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital. NNL-150810-150010001

A black cat which was rescued more than four hours away from home by the RSPCA, has been treated by vets in Chipping Norton.

Rigby was found curled up in the corner of a car engine after the vehicle was placed onto a ramp in a garage in Station Field Industrial Estate in Kidlington last Wednesday.

And although Rigby’s owner, Chris Doughty, lives in Eastbourne, Mr Doughty got Rigby as a kitten only two doors down from where he was treated.

RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Dennis Lovell was immediately called by the staff and he traced Rigby’s owner to Eastbourne, East Sussex, where it is suspected he was hit by a car five days before.

ACO Lovell said: “I was shocked to hear the car had come all the way from Eastbourne. Poor Rigby must have endured a four-hour journey in that engine – which can’t have been very popular.

“I arrived at the garage and it was tricky to get him out as he was very nervous, but eventually I managed to coax him and was relieved to see him in one piece.”

Rigby, who is 11 years old, was in some discomfort so he was taken to Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital for treatment.

Dennis added: “The vets discovered poor Rigby had a fractured pelvis. We can only assume he had been hit by a car back home in Eastbourne, and scrambled up into the car engine to hide away.

“It was a twist of fate the vehicle happened to be a hire car, which was then transported 130 miles away to Oxfordshire!”

Dr Bronwyn Koterwas, a veterinary surgeon at the hospital who was among those who treated Rigby said the fracture was found during an x-ray, but he did not have any life-threatening injuries.

She added it was fortunate he was microchipped.

She said: “The lovely thing is having a microchip meant we could get in touch with the owners, who love their cat and to whom he was an important family member.”

Rigby had to have surgery to have a pin fitted into his pelvis and he was looked after by Dr Koterwas over the weekend.

“The family came to visit and they were over the moon,” she said. “It is a really happy story all round from his, our and the RSPCA’s perspective.”

Mr Doughty said: “When we got the call from Dennis at the RSPCA we were so relieved, and amazed Rigby had ended up where he did. He had been missing for five days, which was really upsetting as he’s usually jumping on my head in the mornings looking for his breakfast.

“Without the help of the RSPCA and Rigby’s microchip, we would never have got him home again. We are so grateful. This whole incident has been very strange at times, and even stranger, the vets surgery in Oxfordshire where Rigby was treated is actually just two doors down from where we first got him as a kitten!”

Rigby has now returned home, but he may lose his tail as he has little feeling in it. He will also have to be a housecat.

ACO Lovell said: “Rigby’s tale highlights how important it is for pet owners to have their animals microchipped. If pets go astray, it’s much easier to reunite them with their owners, and gives peace of mind. As we know from this case, strange things can happen and pets can end up anywhere! We would always recommend microchipping.”

To donate to the RSPCA text HELP to 78866 to give £3. Texts cost £3 plus a standard network rate message.