By Ellen Moynihan And Larry Mcshane New York Daily News
NEW YORK — It was the cutest rescue of their careers.
Two NYPD Emergency Service Unit officers plucked a stranded Staten Island kitty from behind the front bumper of a police SUV, freeing the adorable little critter with all nine lives intact.
Officers Raymond Ragione and Matthew Kobel were beaming after they used a jack to raise the car and then removed the left bumper to end the 6-week-old cat’s odyssey from its home borough to Brooklyn. The kitty, after journeying to the 71st Precinct under the hood of a Toyota Camry, spent several hours pinned inside the police vehicle.
Once rescued, the cat was delivered to the ASPCA to find a new home.
The traveling tabby’s day started after the cat slipped under the hood of the vehicle parked outside the Staten Island home of Louis Pena, 50, a driver for the Metro Luxury car service. He recalled ignoring the Saturday morning meows that greeted his arrival.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” said Pena. “I live in a residential area with lots of stray cats that are always having kittens.”
Only after zipping across the Verrazano Bridge to a job in Brooklyn did Pena learn about the frightened little kitty nestled in his engine.
“I was waiting for the lady to come down and a woman came by with some dogs and said, ‘There’s a cat stuck in your car,’” he recounted. “I heard ‘Meow, meow.’”
He lifted the hood and saw the cat tucked in the engine block, but could not coax the kitty to safety. Once startled, the spooked cat receded deeper into the vehicle.
Pena’s Crown Heights passenger arrived and directed him to the nearby Brooklyn precinct for help. The ESU cops were summoned to open the hood and free the animal, only to discover the kitty was a flight risk.
“The cat was right next to the battery,” Pena said. “Then he was in the wheel well and ran out.”
The kitten darted to the nearest police SUV and clambered inside the car’s body, avoiding capture while ignoring the open can of Friskies Turkey and Giblets paté left by cops to lure the feline outside.
“The cat was scared and just looking for someplace safe,” said a sympathetic Pena. “He’s probably looking for his mother.”
The missing mouser showed similar disdain toward a bowl of milk and several concerned cops making meowing sounds before the rescue.