(Hanford Sentinel)- A Hanford police officer made a new friend Saturday after he rescued a kitten from the inside of a car’s engine compartment.

Traffic Officer Kevin Wheat said he responded to a call around 10 a.m. Saturday. He said a county employee working at the Recovery Fest event at Lacey Park had just arrived when they noticed something strange.

“As soon as they got out of their car, they heard a cat crying,” Wheat said.

 Wheat said the cat apparently crawled into the Dodge Caravan through the bottom of the vehicle and got stuck between the fender and the engine compartment.

Retrieving the animal required some improvisation, Wheat said, as traffic officers are not equipped or trained for disassembling vehicles. He used the jack stand and tire iron included with the vehicle to remove the tire, and then removed part of the fender with a small screwdriver and a pair of pliers from his patrol motorcycle.

The entire operation took about an hour. Wheat said this was his first cat rescue in six years as a police officer.

“They don’t train us at the academy in how to get a cat out of an engine compartment,” Wheat said.

Wheat took the gray-and-white domestic shorthair to the Kings County Animal Services shelter. Shelter staff gave him first dibs at adopting the animal, which is believed to be about 3 months old.

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