Betty the cat may be only a few months old, but she’s already used up a fair number of her nine lives.

The tiny tortoiseshell managed to wriggle her way into the engine bay of a Rakaia woman’s car and arrived in Ashburton 20 minutes later, singed, sore and terrified.

The woman parked her car, turned off the engine and heard a faint but persistent mewling sound.
Puzzled, she lifted the bonnet and stuck among the engine’s workings was a kitten.

In spite of her best efforts, the kitten could not be coaxed from her hiding place and staff from a nearby veterinary clinic were called on for help.

Eventually the kitten was rescued and the burns on her face and paws were treated.

Receptionist Lana Foster said the tiny kitten realised her nightmare trip had ended well and has made Riverside Pets ‘n Vets her home.

Betty’s arrival has proved to clinic staff that no cat is irreplaceable, Ms Foster said.

“Norman our giant ginger cat died about six months ago from cancer and we’d decided we wouldn’t get another cat as we were so attached to him; we just didn’t think we’d find another one like him, but then Betty turned up,” she said.

Unusually perhaps for a cat, Betty has befriended the office goldfish and drinks from his bowl.

The fish is unfazed by the bizarre behaviour.