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Published June 23, 2022

Kitten Hitches Ride in Purr-fect SUV, Finds Family at EchoPark

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Photo shows two auto technicians using a jack to lift a light blue Audi Q3 sports utility vehicle.

EchoPark technicians Mike Huffman and Stephen Hampton come to the rescue of a kitten stuck under an Audi Q3 at EchoPark Plano.

One of EchoPark Plano’s latest arrivals is a stylish gray with white trim. Handling’s a little on the soft side and its engine just purrs. Like, literally purrs.

Inventory specialist Brianna Ellis alerted manager Scott Traylor about the issue with an Audi Q3 that arrived on an 18-wheeler on Monday, June 6.

“Scott, I think we have a problem,” Brianna told Scott. “This car is meowing.”

Guest Loyalty Specialist Lisa Bassett bathed Audi the kitten and made sure he was fed.

Brianna said at first she couldn’t believe it when she heard, “Meow!”

“I was like, there’s no way there’s a cat in here,” she said. But she opened the hood, looked into the engine compartment and saw gray tabby and white kitten.

Technician Mike Huffman, assisted by Stephen Hampton, immediately went to work to get the SUV on a jack and remove the under shield. The meowing became more loud and desperate as Huffman and Hampton worked.

As the under shield came off, the source of the meowing – an 8-week-old gray tabby and white kitten – dashed to the pavement and ran under and into a Hyundai Sonata on the lot.

Employees moved the Sonata into the shop area and closed all the doors. Again, the technicians removed the under shield and Lisa Bassett, a guest loyalty specialist, sprang into action.

“I used to do animal rescue,” Lisa said. She pulled the kitten from underneath the sedan.

“It was dirty, hungry and tired,” Lisa said. She went out and bought food and other supplies for the kitten, dubbed Audi. He ate, got a bath in Dawn dish soap to remove any fleas, then curled up and went to sleep after his arduous journey.

How Audi ended up in the Q3 is a mystery. He rode for 40 minutes inside the SUV on Highway 190 from EP Grand Prairie, where the car had its 190-point inspection, road test and detailing inside and out, to EP Plano.

“I have no idea how long that kitten was in that car,” Scott said.

Audi seemed content at the store and got lots of attention.

Adrian Lopez, 10, holds Audi as his sister, Isabella, 14, looks on in shock after her dad came home with the kitten.

“That was our little baby for about five or six hours,” Brianna said, with a laugh.

There was no shortage of employees who wanted to give the wayward kitten a home, either. Three employees at the store expressed interest, and others volunteered after Scott posted the story on Facebook.

But Scott believes Audi showed up at his store for a reason.

“We’re a praying team, and believe in a higher power,” Scott said.

In April, Adrian Lopez gained custody of his two children and they came to live with him. To help ease the transition, Adrian, an EchoPark sales coach, considered getting them a new pet. His 14-year-old daughter, Isabella Adriana, asked for a cat, mentioning it three or four times in the past couple months. She mentioned it again Sunday night, the day before Audi mysteriously appeared inside a SUV where her dad works.

Adrian just had to convince his wife, Monica Cervantes. The couple has a 1-year-old daughter, Areala, and two dogs, and she wondered if it would be a lot for the family to take in another pet right now.

“Then Monday, the cat arrived at EchoPark,” Adrian said. “It was just meant to be.”

Areala Lopez, 1, can’t hide her excitement over the kitten.

Now known as Audi Sebastian, it’s clear from the many photos the family has snapped since his arrival that he’s made them happy. Complete joy may be an understatement. Audi Sebastion, estimated to be about 8 weeks old, has had his first trip to the vet and received a clean bill of health, shots and deworming. The kitten is settling right in, attacking the feet of unsuspecting family members, knocking over cups and cuddling in bed with Isabella. And yes, he purrs.

“She’s (Isabella) definitely taken ownership and this gives her purpose,” Adrian said. “I didn’t plan for it – that’s one of the best things. It marks a great day. We’re going to keep this cat until it’s no longer here.”

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