‘Bang on your bonnet…there may be a cat or kitten there’

Roscommon SPCA in appeal as number of injured kittens rises

A kitten that recently travelled 30 miles in a car engine before being reunited with owner was one of the lucky ones.

That kitten’s experience reflects the phenomenon of cats and kittens being injured as a result of sheltering in car engines. The trend has led to the Roscommon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals issuing an appeal to car owners to be extra vigilant about the issue.

According to the local charity group, more and more injured kittens are being found on roadsides. Many of the injured animals present with very similar injuries – bloody noses, mouth/jaw injuries and/or burnt paws – all consistent with having travelled in a car engine for a period of time.

Car engines unfortunately prove very alluring for small curious kittens and even bigger curious cats – they’re warm, dark and cosy, providing an ideal shelter – until the car starts moving and then suddenly that ‘shelter’ starts to get unbearably hot.

Roscommon SPCA is encouraging drivers to be extra vigilant as ‘kitten season’ hits its peak – and have outlined a couple of ways that could help prevent cats/kittens taking unnecessary journeys.

The group says that just by banging on your bonnet you give a kitten the chance to wake up and jump out to safety before you embark on your journey.

In a statement, Roscommon SPCA said: “If you are a cat owner or know of cats near your car, there are cat deterrent sprays that you can buy in pet shops. They have a very unpleasant odour to cats only and if you spray the underside of your car this should be enough to deter even the most curious of kittens from climbing up into your engine – and therefore prevent further roadside casualties”.

In the last few weeks numerous kittens with mouth and jaw injuries have been found along roadsides and are usually handed into the nearest veterinary clinic whereupon they are surrendered to the Roscommon SPCA once it’s established there is no owner present.

One kitten had travelled over 30 miles in an engine but was miraculously reunited with their owner.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Unfortunately, such happy endings are a rarity in these circumstances and tracking down a kitten’s owner is usually next to impossible. The vast majority of injured kittens found on a roadside with these type of injuries usually require veterinary care and foster homes before the cat can be adopted. Given the numbers this year this is proving more and more difficult. We urgently need more foster carers”.

*If you feel you could offer a cat or kitten a foster home or if you wish to adopt one of the many cats and kittens seeking a new home, please contact Bridget on 087 0505594.