Talk about hair-raising: Pumpkin the kitten used up at least three of her nine lives last month, when she traveled 100 miles' worth of bumpy upstate-NY roads wedged between the bumper and the front end of a Jeep. But after nearly a full day trapped in the chassis and some understandable injuries, Pumpkin got a much-deserved happy ending – the Jeep's owner, Stacey Pulsifer, decided to adopt the kitten.
How did Pumpkin end up on this involuntary road trip? Pulsifer doesn't know how Pumpkin got into this predicament, but she does know where. "I saw her on my porch on a Friday evening after work," Pulsifer tells Yahoo! Shine Pets. The next day, a Saturday, Pulsifer was on the road for her friend Kellie Briquer's wedding, driving from Plattsburgh, NY to Elizabethtown, to Peru, and then back home. She had no idea she had a tiny feline baby on board until she stopped at a McDonald's drive-through for coffee, where she thought heard meowing. She then drove home and inspected the car for hidden felines, but Pulsifer told the PR that she still "couldn't figure out where the cries were coming from."
Unsure of what to do next, she called for backup, and friends Jena Patterson and Jodie Ewert helped her find and free the black kitten. It took some doing, though, Pulsifer told the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh: "We literally ripped my car apart." And wearing formal dresses, no less – all three women had attended a wedding earlier that day, but that didn't stop them from climbing under the Jeep to try to find the meowing.
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Finally, they found Pumpkin, but it was no easy task; it was "pitch-black" out by that time, Pulsifer remembered, and Pumpkin is pitch-black herself. Pumpkin was wedged behind the bumper and couldn't move. Pulsifer, a cat fancier, was starting to get really upset, and called the cops and an emergency vet to try to figure out a solution. "Who do you call when something like this happens?" Pulsifer said. Pumpkin, who Pulsifer believes spent about 22 hours in her uncomfortable berth, got her paw irretrievably stuck – and her face was mere inches from the ground, during an expedition that took her along bumpy roads and even onto Interstate 87. In the end, Pulsifer told us, it wasn't the jaws of life that got Pumpkin loose; Patterson and Ewert "climbed underneath the car and unbolted a few parts" to free the kitten from her automotive bonds. "It was definitely the same one I saw on my porch the night before," Pulsifer adds.
Pumpkin, named for a friend of Pulsifer's, still had some challenges to face. The stuck paw was broken in enough places that it's useless now; she'll have to have it amputated when she's a little older, in about six months. For now, Pumpkin's sporting a pink cast, pouncing on toys sent by well-wishers, and even jumping on the couch (with a running start). It cost Pulsifer nearly $800 to get Pumpkin on the road to recovery, but she's grateful to her friends, emergency vets, and her landlords (who told her to spend this month's rent money on Pumpkin's vet care) for their help.
Now, the kitten's incredible journey is making headlines around the world. Pulsifer described her new roommate as "legitimately famous," although she believes the little kitty is handling her notoriety well – except for getting a little anxious when local news crews arrived with cameras.
It's a fantastic story, and we're glad Pumpkin has a new home (indoors) and a loving human to take care of her – but not everyone thinks it's as cute as we do. Pulsifer's other cat, Lucabella, is upholding the proud tradition of older siblings everywhere; she seems to find her new little "sister" annoying. But Pulsifer isn't worried, saying that she's "fine with it." Just make sure you have enough catnip mice to go around.
Have you ever picked up a stowaway, feline or otherwise? Do you check under your hood for cats in the winter, to make sure nobody's curled up on the engine for warm nap? What's the craziest cat journey YOU'VE ever heard of? Share your feline-voyage stories in the comments!
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