COCOA, Fla. — Cats may have nine lives, as the old saying goes, but here's a story about a frisky feline who survived an unusual nine-mile car trip.

  • Missing cat found 9 miles away after mechanic opens hood
  • Frightened cat was covered in transmission fluid
  • Cat was microchipped; Humane Society reunited owner with pet

"Once I popped the hood, you could see where the original markings... There was fur everywhere," said veteran mechanic Shane Spencer of Bob Steele Chevrolet in Cocoa.

Spencer knows his way around an engine and where things such as transmissions, hoses, and other parts belong.

But one thing he saw last Thursday certainly wasn't supposed to be there.

"As soon as I lifted it, it jumped out from the bottom," he said Friday. "When that hood is closed, there's not much room in there." 

The cat, inside the engine compartment, ran away and hid until Spencer was able to corral the frightened feline.

"She was covered in transmission fluid," he said. "(I) got her cleaned up and made sure she wasn't injured."

The mechanic knew right away she wasn't a stray. He took it to the Brevard Humane Society, just a mile away from the dealership.

So where did the wayward cat come from?

"I never dreamed she would crawl inside someone's car," said Patty Marn of Viera.

Marn had been worried sick after 4-year-old domestic shorthair cat went missing last week from her home.

Then, she got a phone call from the Humane Society: " 'Do you own a cat named Cuddles?' I sat in shock," Marn recalled.

Cuddles was microchipped, and with that, her owner was just a phone call away.

If Marn wasn't surprised enough that her cat was found, she was shocked to hear that Cuddles had found her way into her neighbor's car engine and became a passenger when the man drove nine miles to the dealership for a service appointment.

"She got comfy and held on," Spencer said with a smile, "(But) she made it."

Cuddles had apparently spend the night in the engine after the customer dropped off the car.

The cat is a bit traumatized but healthy.

For Marn, she was grateful that the workers at the dealership were able to safely bring her cat home.

"These people here, they are worth every penny," she says.

The Brevard Humane Society strongly urges pet owners to have their animals chipped, citing this case as a perfect example.