Kitten travels 12km hidden behind car wheel

Kitten travels 12km hidden behind car wheel

Last updated 05:01 23/10/2012
Axle the kitten
Phil Doyle / Fairfax NZ

STEALTH CAT: Seneti Dawber with Axle the kitten who travelled 12.7 Km in the front suspension of the car, pictured.

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A kitten has been aptly named Axle after completing a daring 12km journey across South Auckland concealed behind a car's front wheel.

Tina Dawber had been at a family gathering in Ridgemount Rise, Mangere Bridge, with her three children, Seneti, nine, Haleni, six, and Ocean, four, last week when the kitten climbed under her car.

The children had been playing with a neighbourhood cat and her kittens before lunch and when the family left her brother, Titie Lauta's address around 5.30pm they were unaware they had an extra passenger on board.

Driving along Roscommon Rd minutes into the 12.7km journey home - which included a stint along the South-western Motorway - Dawber thought she heard something: "I was thinking I'm hearing voices so I didn't mention anything".

Her paranoia got worse as she passed a nearby cemetery where her late father was buried, "could It be my dad", she wondered.
When she heard what she thought was a distinctive meow moments later she slowed the vehicle and made her children search in and around their seats and reassure her they weren't playing a joke on her.

They weren't, but there was no sign of a feline.

When the Dawbers got home they searched the vehicle but didn't hear so much as a peep out of the kitten. On subsequent searches they heard a meow, but still there was no sign of the clever cat. 

When Dawber's husband, Alex, arrived home from work he too took a look, initially finding nothing. His daughter Seneti was adamant there was a cat underneath the car so he kept searching and around 10.30pm he found it.
"I was trying to hear for it but when I'd go out there the kitten would stop (making noise)... so I started creeping and listening and I heard a meow so I started feeling around under the car where I heard the noise and there was this concave area behind the wheel, on the inside, and it was hidden there," he said.
The family hadn't had a pet, despite the children wanting a "lizard, a turtle or a puppy" and Dawber didn't really want one, "then I saw this little baby thing in a box".

So they adopted it.

"I didn't like cats before I see this one. I felt guilty. I could have killed him. It was very, very handsome... the most innocent little thing," she said.

Dawber knew so little about cats that when she went to the supermarket to get Axle supplies she assumed kittie litter was some type of cat food.

"I've changed my opinion (on pets). The night I see him, I think it was for me to love another life," she said.

Dawber said the cat wasn't injured in the car trip and didn't appear to be suffering from any "post traumatic disorder", but had so far spent most of it's time hiding under household furniture.

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- Auckland Now

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