When Joe Nattle started up his Toyota Highlander all seemed perfect. He left the driveway of his Phoenixville home to meet his wife, Debbie, at his mother-in-law’s house in Royersford.
That’s when a typical drive last September turned very unusual.
“He started to hear what he thought was a cat meowing,” says Debbie. Joe pulled over to the side of the road to call his wife. “But every time he stopped the car, the sound of the cat stopped. He looked inside the hood, under the car, and couldn’t find anything.”
Bewildered, and yet confident that he was not imagining the sound, Joe had no choice but to continue to the house. He would switch on the radio and the mewing would stop. Turn off the radio, and the crying would start again. By the time Joe arrived, Debbie, Debbie’s mother and brother and a group of neighbors had gathered on the sidewalk to meet him.
“When he got there, everybody was looking and we opened the hood and sure enough this little kitten popped its head up, he was right underneath the window washer fluid,” says Debbie. The buff and white tuxedo cat with four white paws had just a smudge of grease on his nose.
“There wasn’t a scratch on him,” says Debbie. “We couldn’t believe it. I scooped him up and we got him some food.”
Debbie and Joe have a young son, Trey, and they already had a 17-year-old Himalayan named Sasha.
The couple had been talking about getting another cat, but this wasn’t the way they thought it would happen.
“You could tell he belonged to someone,” says Debbie. “We called the SPCA, all the vets and we put posters up to see if we could find his owner. We had him scanned for a microchip, anything we could think of, but nobody claimed him.”
By this point the little intruder had made himself at home, following Joe around the house and launching play attacks. “He’s very social and he’s a terror, too,” says Debbie. They brought the kitten to Valley Veterinary to have him examined. “We have been going to Valley Vet for 17 years,” says Debbie. “I just love Dr. Shreiber. He’s taken care of my cats. I trust him with Sasha. He’s always been there. He gets you in when you need an appointment.”
It wasn’t too hard to come up with a name for the wayward kitten, she says. “We named him Hoodie,” says Debbie. “It just seemed to fit.”