Deputies in Florida Keys rescue kitten that hitched ride in patrol car

MARATHON, Fla. — Here is a hitchhiking story that will give you paws -- four of them.

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Deputies in the Florida Keys rescued a scared kitten that hitched a ride on a patrol car Monday morning, the Miami Herald reported. The 4-week-old kitten was scared but unharmed after it was discovered seated on the rear axle of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, the newspaper reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies were called to the Seven Mile Bridge after receiving reports of a kitten darting close to southbound traffic on U.S. 1, WFOR reported.

Deputy Jonathan Rodriguez arrived to find a dead cat -- most likely the kitten’s mother -- in the roadway near the base of the bridge, according to a Facebook post by the sheriff’s office.

Purrfect outcome after Deputies save kitten Middle Keys Deputies saved a kitten Monday after they found it hitching a...

Posted by MCSO - Florida Keys on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Rodriguez continued to search for the kitten but had no success, so he drove away, the Herald reported.

At about 6 p.m., Rodriguez was ending his shift at the Marathon sheriff’s office substation when Sgt. Joel Slough heard meowing coming from the deputy’s patrol car.

“He asked, ‘Is your car meowing?’” sheriff’s office spokesperson Adam Linhardt told the Herald. “They quickly figured it out.”

“After several minutes, Deputy Frank Westerband was able to obtain visual confirmation that the kitten was sitting on the rear axle,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.

Deputies removed both rear tires on the patrol car, but the scared feline kept retreating to a spot between the rear axle and the fuel tank, the sheriff’s office said.

Members from the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tried to help by putting out some food, but the kitten remained hidden.

“It became this station-wide effort,” Linhardt told the Herald.

Finally, Animal Control Officer Aryel Del Cueto safely removed the kitten from the patrol car, the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.

Deputies nicknamed the kitten “Pawcifer Lucky” and took him to the Florida Keys SPCA in Marathon to recover, according to the Herald.