Rescuers partially dismantled three vehicles while trying to free a kitten that kept climbing into engines in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.
The RSPCA was called to a car park when a member of the public heard a miaowing sound coming from a Volkswagen Golf.
With the permission of the owner, firefighters lifted the car up to try to free the cat.
It was then taken to a garage where some of the wheels and bodywork were taken off to reach underneath the engine.
But before the cat could be reached it ran under a BMW and did the same.
The BMW’s owner was traced and the car was partially taken apart, but the cat then dashed under the RSPCA van.
The van required less dismantling as it was higher from the ground and a firefighter – also called to help – managed to catch the cat in his arms before she could escape again.
The rescue efforts took several hours on July 15.
RSPCA animal collection officer Natalie Read, who has since adopted the cat, said: “This kitten was proving a little Houdini – but there’s no way we could leave her in any of the vehicles or alone in the middle of a busy town centre, so we just had to try again!”
Her colleague Naemi Kilby said: “The kitten was so terrified by what had happened – we had to get her – because she could have been seriously hurt or killed if she had been inside a car engine for too long while moving.”
The kitten, believed to be between six and 12 weeks old, has been named Lohse.
It is likely that Lohse travelled to the car park in another vehicle from a farm 10 miles away, the RSPCA said.