It sounded like a meow.
The officer with the Santa Cruz Police Department in California was in the station’s parking lot this week, according to the agency’s Facebook page.
The call for help was coming from under the hood of one of the police cruisers.
Opening it, Gomez spotted a kitten cowering under the car’s engine block.
According to the police, “Officer Gomez shimmied underneath the car and carefully removed the small kitty cat after playing cat-and-mouse with it under the hood.”
The kitten was mired in grease and dirt. But Gomez saw right through all of the grime. He saw the hardship and loneliness the cat had already been through at such a tender age. And he decided to make the kitten his new partner for life.
“It was love at first sight,” the department explained. “Officer Gomez adopted the stray kitty right then and there.”
Of course, you don’t have to be a police officer to save a life. In winter months especially, cats frequently clamber under car hoods, looking for shelter and leftover heat from a switched-off engine. If the car is started, the results could be fatal.
Something as simple as banging on the hood of your car whenever you’re about to start it up can startle a sheltering cat from hiding.
Better yet, notes the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Make some noise. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost.”