Cats love a warm, cozy spot on cold winter nights. Horrible trauma occurs when the car is started.

 

Question:

Our neighbor’s cat got stuck in the fanbelt of his car last week. How common is that? How do I make sure that doesn’t happen to my cat?

 

Dr. Nichol:

Great question. I’m delighted to hear you thinking about prevention. The truth is that automobile fans and fanbelts kill and maim many cats every fall and winter. It is tragic but preventable. It happens because it takes awhile for a car engine to completely cool down even on a cold night. Cats naturally love snug enclosures anyway. So if it’s a warm and cozy spot your kitty may find it downright inviting. Often a cat will spend a whole night snuggled up against an engine. Then when you start the car the next morning, the cat is suddenly hit by the spinning blades of the fan or cut or burned by the friction of the fanbelt.

 

The injuries are frightening. These kitties sometimes don’t survive. Those who do usually have wounds of the face and rear end that sometimes included broken bones. The best way to keep your cat safe is to either keep her indoors at night or scare her out from under the hood before turning the key. You can do this by thumping on the hood a couple of times or blowing the horn. When the weather gets warm again, you can stop worrying. Thanks for caring this much for your cat.