Why do cats take shelter in your car's engine bay?

And how to avoid killing them
by Tracy Carpena | Dec 22, 2017


Cats may be Instagram superstars, but they're vulnerable creatures outside social media. When they're not getting run over by vehicles, they turn into feline ground meat when they hide inside car engine bays (okay, sometimes, they survive and get out alive). So what is it with cats and their penchant for cars?

Well, they certainly aren't wishing and waiting for death when they invade your engine bay, wheel wells or even exhaust system. It turns out cats, scientifically known as Felis catus, just need some warmth.

"Cats love warm places because they have a higher body temperature compared to humans," said Marie Celina Lugti-Mergilla, DVM of The Pawsh Vet pet shop. "Stray cats usually go inside the engine bay because they seek shelter to keep them warm. They do this to conserve energy while napping. They also like the engine bay, because it is dark and they could nap in peace."

Notice that this habit of theirs is more common during the rainy season and when it's cold? So these days when temperatures are hitting 27 degrees, spare a few minutes in the morning to inspect your vehicle before starting the engine. "It’s always good to walk around the car, check the wheel wells, underneath, and under the hood," advised our associate editor and animal lover Jason dela Cruz.

And when a stray has made your car its home, Lugti-Mergilla suggests that you try to affectionately call the cat and entice it to come out. "Tapping the hood or beeping the horn will surely scare or stress them out, so they may be too frightened to leave your car," the veterinarian pointed out. "You can try giving food, if they wouldn't respond to mere calls."

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If you have a pet cat yourself, don't let them mistake your car as sleeping haven. "Give them a warm and comfortable sleeping space or area," said Lugti-Mergilla. "A simple box will do. Cats love boxes."

Have you encountered a strange meow coming from your engine bay?

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