SCOTCH PLAINS — When a Dodge Challenger pulled up to a mechanic's shop last week, the employees likely didn't think anything of it until, of course, the driver said he thought there was a cat stuck somewhere inside the car.

Head mechanic Kyle Fitzgerald said when the team at Paul's Garage got closer to the car they could also hear the kitten screaming from inside the chassis.

"I'm a big cat person," he said. "I could tell it was in trouble."

After getting the car onto a lift, taking off the left front wheel and removing some plastic coverings, Fitzgerald said they could see the cat, but could also see that she had gotten herself trapped in a precarious position.

Not wanting to get hurt, but also not wanting to hurt the kitten, Fitzgerald said he was wearing gloves and arm protectors to keep himself safe.

"Once I got my hands on her she was shaking a little," he said. "She wasn't trying to attack me or anything. I took the glove off and I petted her for a couple of seconds just to calm her down."

How the cat got trapped in the car was something the workers were trying to figure out.

He said the powerful sports car has a plastic cover under the front of the engine and that the cat had probably worked its way from the back to the front of the vehicle. Thankfully the cat was able to avoid any moving or hot parts.

Now that the cat was safe, the employees had to find a name, and needed look no further than the car she was trapped in.

"Her name is Hellcat," he said. "It was the most fitting name, and we all agreed upon it."

Hellcat refers to the newest version of the Dodge Challenger, which the company calls "a monster that's fierce in both design and performance."

Fitzgerald brought the kitten home with him, and said his other cats are getting used to their new sister.

"They're just big scaredy cats, literally," he said. "She kind of just hangs out in my room with me. She's just loving life having a good time. She runs around and plays all the time. She's really happy now."

The feline visitor was definitely a surprise for the veteran mechanic and the rest of the team at the shop that has only been in Scotch Plains for less than a year. For now he's just enjoying life with the new pet who came into his life in a car known more for horsepower than cat-like quickness.

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