Sharon Stir­ling, 49, from Kilmarnock, was driven to dis­trac­tion when her cat went miss­ing…

Pick Me Up! Special - - Trapped Real Life -

Wav­ing off my friend af­ter a chat and a cuppa, I closed the door.

But just a few sec­onds later, she was back, ring­ing my bell.

Con­fused, I opened the door to find her hold­ing my cat, Ja­cob.

‘He was in my car!’ she gig­gled. ‘Good thing I no­ticed be­fore I drove off!’

‘Thank you!’ I smiled, scoop­ing him up. It was typ­i­cal Ja­cob. All it took was some­one be­ing dis­tracted as they opened the car door, and he’d sneak in.

A few times be­fore, I’d been on my way to work when he’d ap­peared in the back seat!

I’d spot­ted him seven years ear­lier, in Septem­ber 2011, as I walked past a pet shop win­dow.

A tiny kit­ten, he was in his own cage and I just knew that I had to res­cue him.

He’d been like my baby ever since, sleep­ing with me at night and wait­ing at the win­dow when he heard my car com­ing up the drive.

But he was very shy, too.

When­ever my friends came round to visit me, he’d hide.

He only liked to hang around with me and my other cat, Maisie.

But one morn­ing last July, Ja­cob was nowhere to be seen.

Usu­ally he and Maisie would be in the kitchen at 5am, wait­ing for their break­fast.

Ex­cept, on that morn­ing, only Maisie turned up. ‘Where’s Ja­cob?’ I asked. Maisie stared at me blankly. I was wor­ried – he never stayed out all night.

But I drove to work, telling my­self he’d just hid­den some­where and would be back home safely when I at the end of the day.

Re­turn­ing home that af­ter­noon, there was still no sign of him.

Wor­ried, I knocked on my neigh­bours’ doors, ask­ing if they’d seen him around.

That night, I hardly slept, and was out at dawn the next morn­ing, walk­ing down the street and call­ing his name.

But, as the days passed, my fears grew about where Ja­cob was.

I went around the neigh­bour­hood, show­ing his photo to ev­ery­one I saw, and plas­tered the area with miss­ing posters. I was ab­so­lutely dis­traught.

A week later, I drove round to visit my dad, Alex, 75.

I was re­turn­ing his car – he’d had a her­nia op­er­a­tion and couldn’t drive for two weeks, so he’d in­sisted I use the car while he was re­cov­er­ing. ‘I’m so wor­ried about Ja­cob,’ I told Dad.

‘Don’t worry, he’ll turn up even­tu­ally,’ he said. A few days later, Dad called. ‘Lis­ten care­fully,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to scare you, but Ja­cob’s

in the grille of my car.’ I couldn’t be­lieve it. ‘Is he alive?!’ I screamed. ‘Yes,’ Dad replied. ‘I’ve just spoon-fed him.’ I raced straight over. Ja­cob’s big, scared eyes stared at me through the me­tal holes as if he was in prison.

‘Don’t worry, love, we’ll get you out,’ I soothed.

Dad ex­plained that he’d driven to Asda, and while in the car park, he’d seen a flash of white in his car.

‘I thought it was a seag­ull,’ he said. ‘Then I heard a meow and spot­ted Ja­cob through the grille.’

It had been nine days since he’d gone miss­ing.

‘Do you think he’s OK?’ I wor­ried, try­ing to find a way to get him out.

I had no choice but to slowly drive Dad’s car to the lo­cal garage – with Ja­cob still in the grille! Once there, I begged for help. ‘My cat’s trapped!’ I cried. Four me­chan­ics put the car on a ramp and care­fully un­screwed the front sec­tion.

Ja­cob was wedged in a me­tal tube be­hind the num­ber plate!

The me­chan­ics prised it down and I peered up.

Ja­cob’s lit­tle back legs were stick­ing out.

Tak­ing a deep breath, I grabbed them and pulled him free.

He clung so hard to me his claws dug into my arm, but I didn’t care. He was alive! ‘He must have climbed over the tyre to get in there,’ the me­chan­ics frowned.

Thank­ing them, I put Ja­cob in the boot and, back home, filled his bowl with food and wa­ter.

Then I took him to the vet for a checkup.

He’d lost a kilo, and had a big black bruise on his nose, but luck­ily hadn’t suf­fered any other in­juries.

‘If it hadn’t been for the rain­wa­ter in the grille, he’d of died of de­hy­dra­tion,’ the vet said. ‘Oh, God,’ I gasped. His cu­rios­ity had nearly killed him!

Back home, Ja­cob was a bit wob­bly, but within a few days, he was back to nor­mal, play­ing with Maisie.

Still, I was sick with worry for a long time af­ter that.

If he’d been in that grille any longer, he would have been toast!

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