How To Get A Cat Out From Under A Car?

Just a couple of days ago, as I was about to close my car door and drive off to get some groceries, I heard a very faint meow coming from close by.

That kinda piqued my curiosity as my cats are all indoors.

As I stepped out of my car and walked to the front, the meowing started to get louder.

I popped open my hood and there was a scared cat looking right at me.

Thankfully I managed to get the cat out of my car engine compartment before driving off.

I can’t imagine what would have happened to that poor cat if I had started my engine and driven off.

What To Do When A Cat Is Stuck Under Your Car?

The best way to try and get any cat out from under your car is to use gentle scare tactics to try and scare it away. If it still won’t move, get hold of some enticing cat treats or toys and draw the cat out. If you can reach the cat, attempting to carry the cat to safety can also work.

We will go into deeper detail with regards to the methods we can use to get the cat out.

Why Are Cats Attracted To My Car?

Most cats have the amazing ability to hide in places that we never knew a cat could hide in. Cats hide in small and secure places when resting to get away from potential predators and bad weather.

This doesn’t just apply to stray or feral cats. Even your own cats might do the same if they are allowed to roam outside the house.

If it is raining or snowing, a cat will find it comforting to seek shelter under a car to keep it warm. Cats have a higher normal body temperature than humans hence they require more heat to help regulate their body temperature.

Car engines make the perfect hiding place as it is nice and toasty especially if it has just been driven.

Cats also like to hide underneath cars when the weather is blazing hot as it helps to provide some reprieve from the heat.

Mother cats are also known to use the car engine compartment as a temporary hiding place for their kittens while she hunts for food or looks for a new nest.

How Do You Get A Cat Out Of Your Engine Compartment?

There are a couple of techniques you can use to help coax the cat out from under your car or in the engine compartment.

They would harm the cat and can work effectively.

Use Food To Lure The Cat

Not many cats can say no to food especially if it is a stray or feral cat that is hungry. I wouldn’t expect you to have cat food stashed in your cat.

But if you do, awesome.

Otherwise, it would be helpful if you have access to a near grocery store where you can grab some cat food or a can of water-based tuna (cats can’t resist the smell of tuna).

Or if you are whipping up some scrambled eggs and cheese, that’s something many cats love as well.

Try getting the food as close as possible to the cat’s nose to tempt it and then put it on the ground.

Once the cat begins to move out from under the car, carry the food to a quiet and safe spot where the cat can eat in peace.

I understand that getting the get out safely is a priority but please try not to feed the cat anything that has garlic or onion in it as these are very toxic to cats.

Use Catnip

If you have ever seen what catnip can do to a cat, you’ll understand how it can be used to get your cat from under the car.

Catnip is a plant and it is part of the mint family. This is why when you smell catnip, it has a minty scent to it.

Protip: You can use your cat’s catnip to make some awesome mint tea.

Cats love to roll in and chew on catnip which helps to release the oil in the leaves. This leaves the cat in a rather spaced out and relaxed state of mind.

Sprinkle some catnip near your cat’s nose and more on the ground.

Once your cat is drawn by the smell of catnip and has moved away from the car, carry it to safety and let your cat revel in some well-earned catnip.

Not all cats are affected by catnip though. It is about a 50/50 split. But if you know that your cat is a catnip junkie, make sure to this familiar scent.

Use A Toy

Another way that you can use to get your cat out from under the car is to appeal to its hunting instincts.

Cats are excellent hunters and love to chase anything that resembles a prey. For all you know, the cat got under your cat from chasing a mouse!

You can use anything that resembles a cat toy like a leaf, a piece of stick or a long piece of string. Dangle it in front of the cat to get its hunting instinct flowing.

It works best with kittens and young cats but not many older cats can resist the sight of a wriggly piece of string.

Scare Tactics

vinegar spray for cats

Sometimes, the best way to get a cat out from under your cat is to scare it away. The whole point is not to terrorize the cat for life but to gently shoo it off to a safer place.

Not many cats are fond of getting wet so if you have some water with you, pour a little into your palm and sprinkle it on the cat. Don’t just douse the entire bottle of liquid on the cat.

Just a few sprinkles should scare the cat away from your cat.

If for some reason the cat seems to enjoy getting blessed with water, try sounding your horn for a quick second.

Cats are not fans of loud and sudden noises given their acute sense of hearing. A car horn is loud enough to scare them away from your car.

If you are not able to use your horn for whatever reason, clapping or stomping your feet close to the cat will also work.

Physically Remove The Cat

I would only recommend this if you are sure that the cat is friendly enough to be handled and there is enough space to remove the cat.

If the cat is afraid and feels trapped under the car, trying to touch it can result in the cat lashing out in fear.

Even if it is your own cat.

Before you proceed, observe the cat’s body language to see how it is reacting. Is the cat relaxed and calm? Or it is hissing and showing its teeth?

If the cat looks ok being carried, slowly approach the cat and gently lift it out while talking calmly and softly to it.

Don’t touch the cat if it is behaving aggressively.

What To Do If You Can’t Get The Cat Out?

It could also be due to the cat’s curiosity that got it under your cat and now it is too afraid to move. Or it is stuff in a very tight space and can’t get out.

Either way, don’t attempt to remove the cat on your own to prevent any potential injuries.

Call your local shelters or fire department and they will be able to help. Besides they have the proper equipment and training to extract the cat safely from your car.

The Dangers Of Hiding Under The Car

Although hiding under the car might seem like a safe place for the cat, it is definitely not a good idea for any cat to be.

They are many ways that a cat can injure itself by hiding under the car:

  • Burnt by the hot car engine
  • Ingesting harmful substances like car engine oil and antifreeze
  • A sleeping cat can get startled by the engine starting and dash out on the road
  • Starve or suffocate death if trapped under the car and can’t get out

Please do what you can to help the cat get out from under your cat before it hurts itself.

How To Get A Kitten Out A Wheel Well?

Kittens are very playful and inquisitive thus always getting themselves into all sorts of trouble. There have been many reports of kittens getting stuck in the wheels well of cars.

It isn’t an easy spot to access but given the small size of kittens, it is a lot easier for them.

The bad thing about being trapped in the wheel well is that some dismantling is required to reach the kitten.

You might have to call a mobile car mechanic for help.

Please don’t attempt to have your car towed to the workshop as the kitten might drop out of the car while it is moving.


It can be a big headache for car owners when they have a trapped cat. At least you now know how to get a cat out from under a car.

Even with the provided techniques, it still takes some patience and determination to coax the cat out.

So please do what you can and don’t hesitate to call for help if you need some.

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