South Jordan cat ends up 15 miles from home after sleeping in car engine

Nov 4, 2022, 11:14 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, UtahA Daybreak cat went for a wild ride across the Salt Lake Valley when it decided to warm up in a car.

When Jaren Hafen could not find his cat Ollie Thursday afternoon, he checked his Apple AirTag tracker app on his phone.

“I check it and it says he is at I-15 and I-215, and I thought, ‘That has got to be a glitch’,” Hafen said.

But it wasn’t. Ollie was 15 miles away from home and on the move.

“I’m like, ‘Oh no, he is in a car.’ So I grabbed the carrier, grabbed some treats and a blanket, and I was like, ‘OK, let’s go track this down,” Hafen said.

It was a wild goose chase. Hafen followed the tracker all the way to the Costco parking lot in Sandy. From his phone, he directed Ollie’s collar AirTag to play a sound so he could locate it.

“My phone said he was right there, but I couldn’t hear anything, so I must’ve just missed the car,” he said.

He then followed the moving tracker back to South Jordan, where it parked at a business. He pinged the device again, and remarkably, found Ollie in a car he recognized to be his neighbor’s Tesla.

“We tried to coax him out, but I was like, ‘No, he’s not going to come out on his own, so let’s look for a nearby mechanic,’” Hafen said.

They ended up at Tunex near Redwood Road and South Jordan Parkway, where mechanics were happy to help get Ollie out, free of charge.

“I thought we would pull that undercarriage off and grab him and go, but no,” Hafen said.

The crew had to remove parts of the vehicle to get Ollie out. The whole ordeal lasted about 30 minutes. He was glad the car Ollie climbed into was an electric car and knows it could have been much worse if it was a gas-powered engine.

Callista Pearson with Salt Lake County Animal Services agrees.

“Sometimes cats do get stuck in there and can get hurt,” she said. “We have an employee whose cat’s leg got cut off after a driver started up the engine not knowing the cat was in there warming up.” 

Pearson said if you are a cat owner or if you park your car outside, take some precautions before you start your car, especially in the winter.

“You could knock on the hood, honk the horn, you could even spray pepper spray around your car to keep cats from going into them when you’re parked,” she said.

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South Jordan cat ends up 15 miles from home after sleeping in car engine