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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Kitten Trapped In Car’s Engine Rescued By East Ukrainian Village Neighbors

A neighbor who cares for a feral cat colony alerted Animal Control and cops, to no avail. It took a nearby vet tech and the car's owner to save the kitten.

Duke Animal Hospital technician Emilia Fita rescues a feral tabby kitten who climbed inside a car's engine in East Ukrainian Village on Dec. 3, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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EAST UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Strangers came together to save a feral kitten trapped in a car’s engine Thursday in East Ukrainian Village.

Linda McGuire, who lives in the neighborhood and cares for a colony of feral cats, was walking with one of the felines Wednesday night. She heard a kitten’s cry and saw a startled tabby scamper under a nearby car in the 1600 block of West Walton Avenue.

McGuire, who works at the Tree House Humane Society and helped save about 35 cats in the past year, didn’t know whose car it was.

When she went back Thursday morning and the cat was still there, she realized it wouldn’t be an ordinary rescue.

East Ukrainian Village neighbor Linda McGuire looks under a car to rescue a feral tabby kitten who climbed inside a car’s engine on Dec. 3, 2020.

McGuire wasted no time, printing out signs to put on the car warning its owner a kitten was hiding out next to the car’s engine. She attempted to coo the cat out, too, to no avail.

Then she called Animal Control, 311 and the police, but no one came to the scene. McGuire wrote to Block Club and took to social media to ask for help retrieving the kitten.

Emilia Fita, a technician at Duke Animal Hospital, was scrolling through social media when she saw McGuire’s post. “It’s now or never — an animal needs help,” she thought.

When Fita arrived, she heard the kitten’s “petrified” meows but saw no way to reach it under the white Volkswagen Jetta. Fortunately, the car’s owner, Andres Rodriguez, was on his way to pay a bill when he came up to the crowd of neighbors looking at his car.

Andres Rodriguez works to open the hood of his car where a feral tabby kitten was trapped on Dec. 3, 2020.

He joined in the action, opening the car’s hood so Fita could nab the confused cat and safely cage it.

“If I would’ve started the car, that cat would’ve been hurt,” Rodriguez said. “I’m just really happy they found the cat in the car.”

Andres Rodriguez looks on after a feral tabby kitten was rescued from inside his car’s engine in East Ukrainian Village on Dec. 3, 2020.

Fita bestowed the nickname “Jetta” upon the cat. The kitten will be checked out at the Tree House Humane Society before it is safely returned to the streets.

“Animals don’t have voices, so when one needs help, you need to be their voice,” Fita said. “Even when you don’t know what you can do, just being here helps.”

“Jetta,” the tabby cat who was saved after it climbed into a car engine in East Ukrainian Village on Dec. 3, 2020.

McGuire said she’s excited for Jetta the cat to get back out in the neighborhood, as feral cats play an integral role in controlling the rodent population. Mama Bear, one of her eight ferals, catches a rat every morning, she said.

And after the rescue, she was relieved.

“It’s over. I can go take a shower. I’ve been doing this since 8 o’clock last night trying to save this kitten,” McGuire said.

East Ukrainian Village neighbor and cat owner Linda McGuire hugs Duke Animal Hospital technician Emilia Fita who rescued a feral tabby kitten was trapped in a car’s engine on Dec. 3, 2020.

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