A LUCKY kitten is recovering after being trapped under the bonnet of a car – having lost part of his ear in the fan belt.

The moggy named Pippin by staff at the RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham, was rescued by an AA patrolman after he unwittingly activated a warning light on the car dashboard.

Wallsend AA patrolman Brian Marsh said: “The AA member had looked under the bonnet and hadn’t spotted anything amiss, but the problem became immediately apparent when I removed the engine covers and saw this little face staring back.

“The kitten was caught in the fan belt and had managed to rip out a wire in the engine, which caused it to cut out.

“After a bit of dismantling, I was able to carefully prise him out. We wrapped him in my jumper and waited for the RSPCA.

“It was raining cats and dogs – no pun intended – so I suspect the poor thing had decided to climb into the engine bay for shelter.”

Mr Marsh picked up a few scratches and bites for his troubles and had to go for a precautionary tetanus jab.

Thankfully, the kitten – a tiny tabby with white face and paws – escaped with just a couple of minor cuts.

Mr Marsh said it was not his first animal rescue. He once had to dismantle a dashboard to retrieve an adventurous hamster that escaped from a cardboard box inside its owner’s car.

Rebecca Williams, deputy manager at the RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre, said: “Pippin is lucky to be alive.

"His right ear was damaged when it got caught in the fanbelt and he was operated on at Premier Vets in Low Fell. Vets cleaned up the wound and had to cut off the top half of its ear and stitch it up."

Pippin has a prospective home to go to – once his wounds had healed properly.