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Honda the kitten survives 90-mile ride in SUV engine

Honda, a 5-week-old kitten, was rescued Aug. 15,

Honda, a 5-week-old kitten, was rescued Aug. 15, 2017, after a Port Jefferson man driving back from East Hampton heard cries coming from the under the hood of his SUV and sought help at a car dealership in Riverhead. Credit: Kent Animal Shelter

The story of a kitten’s journey from Port Jefferson to the Hamptons has gone viral after he was rescued from under the hood of an SUV.

Honda, a 5-week-old kitten, escaped uninjured after his 90-mile trip thanks to a group of mechanics at a Riverhead car dealership, said Pamela Green, director of Kent Animal Shelter. Honda is currently receiving care in a foster home until he is old enough to be adopted.

For now, Green and the dealership staff are fielding calls from the media, retelling what Green said is an incredible rescue.

“We just did something for this guy to help him out and now I’ve got every paper and channel calling,” said Charlie Vassallo, service manager at Apple Honda.

Vassallo said he and his staff were working Tuesday afternoon when a man arrived, saying he needed help with what he believed was a kitten trapped inside his Honda CR-V. Vassallo said they occasionally get asked to remove possums and squirrels, but that a kitten was uncommon.

The man told both Vassallo and Green that he believed he had driven about 90 miles with the kitten inside. He said he started the day at his Port Jefferson home and drove to East Hampton and heard the kitten’s cries on his way back as he passed through Riverhead.

The man tried to remove the kitten, but it scampered further inside the vehicle, Vassallo said.

“The kitten jumped down between the radiator and the bumper,” he said. “On that type of vehicle, it’s very tight. You can’t get your arms down in there to get the cat out.”

It took Vassallo’s staff 45 minutes to remove the CR-V’s front bumper and rescue the cat. He said they did the work at no charge to the man.

The man then brought the kitten to the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, Green said, where the shelter agreed to find the kitten a home. They named him Honda.

Honda is very friendly, she said. He just needs to put on a few more pounds before he can join the other cats up for adoption.

“It’s one of the best stories I’ve heard in my 30 years here,” she said.

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