The end of a hot day

Today’s hot weather made me dream of being back in Cyprus. It was after a day of slightly higher temperatures than this that we picked up an unexpected stowaway in our hire car…

During a visit back to the island last month, we’d decided to pop out for an ice cream and an evening stroll down the beach. A couple of miles en-route there was, unusually for Cyprus, a queue of traffic caused by a Cypriot wedding, as guests dropped cars on the corners of pavements and stopped unexpectedly to let out glamorous ladies in high heels. I could hear the sound of a cat crying and it seemed very close by. I looked around to see where it was, then as we continued we both noticed the noise was still with us. I even turned to check in the back seat. As the sound grew more distinct and insistent we had the awful thought that the cat could be injured somewhere under the car or shut in the boot, so we quickly pulled into the nearest hotel entrance and jumped out. The mournful crying hadn’t stopped and unbelievably it seemed to be coming from under the bonnet.

A couple of Russian tourists wandered over to see what was wrong and could also hear the crying. The bonnet was popped and we all peered into the engine… no sign of a cat. But the plaintive meow continued. I was worried the animal was trapped and injured. One of the Russians suggested we turn the wheel slowly because that’s where the sound seemed to be coming from. Seconds later he leaned into the back of the engine and lifted out a tiny black and tortoiseshell kitten. Amazingly it seemed fine and was still desperately crying. He handed the kitten over and said, “Here you go – it’s yours!” Neither of us could believe this tiny kitten had survived the drive a mile a two down the road and lived to tell the tale.

We were very relieved that it was uninjured and decided to return to the flat where we assumed it had crawled into the car. The kitten buried itself in my neck and even started purring. We bought kitten food en-route (we are softies at heart) in case it was hungry and to help with the shock of being in an engine. We hoped it would wander off and find its mother somewhere in the surrounding bushes where many stray cats seemed to be living. So with the Kitten left eating, we headed out for that ice cream…

The next morning we checked the car for any sounds incase the little chap had returned. There was no sound from the car, but wait a minute… there was a familiar cry and it was coming from a car behind us. This time we couldn’t open the bonnet and didn’t even know who owned the vehicle. Eventually after practically lying under the car the same kitten, with a dangerous passion for car engines, was coaxed out from the engine through the wheel arch. This time a local lady was on hand to carry it off to safety, away from the temptation of parked cars.

That old advert for Esso petrol sprung to mind, urging drivers to ‘put a tiger in your tank’, with the photo of a roaring tiger. We’d had a baby tiger in our engine but his roar had been more of a meow.