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The ginger female cat was discovered trapped in the back of a Carpet Court van in the inner city last Thursday and delivered to the Otago SPCA by contractor Kerry Bell.
"We were working on a job in Hanover St and the apprentice found her when he went to get something out of the van," Mr Bell said yesterday.
"The cat was blocked in by some big boxes and had no way to get out. She was pretty freaked out. She probably hadn't seen daylight for a few days.
"I'd been driving around all week and a couple of times I thought I'd heard some meowing. But I didn't really think anything of it and just turned the stereo up."
The cat was found in a small cavity wedged in behind three, large rectangular boxes, he said.
"I've got no idea where she came from and I've been racking my brains how she got in there. Cats love the vans and she's obviously gone in to have a sleep. We're often on people's properties with the doors wide open and it's not unusual to get back to the van and find a cat asleep on the seat," Mr Bell said.
"I'm just glad she's all right. I love cats. I've got two myself at home."
The unenviable job of extricating the mobile moggy went to SPCA inspector Julie Richardson.
"I've never had to get a cat out of a van in a situation like this before. She was hissing a wee bit and I had to shuffle into the hole to get to her. But she didn't seem to be dehydrated. She was pretty scared, but in good condition."
SPCA officers checked, unsuccessfully, to see if the cat was microchipped and it hoped her owner might recognise her.
"She's a lovely cat and it would be really nice to find who she belongs to," Mr Bell said.