ELK GROVE, Calif., 10:59 a.m. PST December 4, 2003 - Elk Grove firefighters responded to a "stuck cat" call Wednesday, but this cat wasn't up a tree, it was in the front end of a car.

The cat got stuck in the front suspension of Andrea Ventura's Ford Aerostar van, which was parked in a shopping center parking lot.

"I was in Bath and Body Works and seen this little kitten run up into my engine," Ventura said.

Fire crews arrived and tried to entice the cat out without success.

"It appears that the cat is caught up underneath the axle and the engine. We've tried working our way through it for 45 minutes ... we're not going to get it out. We're going to have to dismantle part of the car," Elk Grove Fire Department Capt. Jim Mackensen said.

The van was finally towed to the service department at nearby Elk Grove Ford.

"She's crawled up into the a-frame in the control arm ... we're going to get a couple of guys to pull this down so we can get the cat out," Elk Grove Ford spokesman Dave Bright said.

Three hours later, a very frightened and dirty kitten was pulled from the front end of the vehicle.

Ventura said she's going to adopt the cat and will name it "Aerostar."

The rescue cost Ventura nothing -- the towing company and Elk Grove Ford donated their time and equipment.