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How to Get a Cat Out from Under a Car (7 Effective Methods)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Cat under a car

Have you ever stepped outside to head off toward work or an appointment only to find a kitty staring at you from beneath your car? It happens. Often, the cat in question is our own feline friend who has found yet another way to keep you at home. At times, however, the cat under your car is one you’ve never seen and you have no idea how to deal with them. Whether it’s your cat or one you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting, getting the kitty out safely is crucial. Luckily, there are a few methods you can try to get this job done and get both you and the cat on your way.

The 7 Ways to Get a Cat Out from Under a Car

1.  Here Kitty Kitty

When you come out and notice your cat or a neighborhood cat under your car, panicking isn’t going to get you anywhere. Before you start racking your brain on what to do, start simply. If it’s your cat, try staying back from the car and simply calling your cat’s name. While a neighborhood kitty may not have a name per se, calling them could still work. The most important thing to remember is to use a calm voice. If you show fear, anxiousness, or even anger any cat under your car is more likely to stay there.

Domestic cat - under the car
Image Credit: czechphotos, Shutterstock

2. The Food Trick

One of the quickest ways to a cat’s heart is with food. If your kitty gets outside and ends up under your car, food could be the best way to coax them out. However, when it comes to pet cats, they are often well-fed. If your cat hasn’t been outside for a bit, hunger may not be an issue. Instead, try pulling out the big guns. If your cat loves treats or is a huge fan of tuna, use these special foods they enjoy. This could bring your cat rushing out to enjoy the offering.

In the case of a cat you aren’t familiar with, normal cat food often works well. Stray, feral, and neighborhood cats don’t get to eat as routinely as your housecat. Use some food to catch the cat’s attention then move it away to a safe location and wait. The cat could be frightened of you but once you’re out of sight, they might beeline to the food for a healthy meal.

3. Cat Toys Are Great for Getting a Cat’s Attention

Another creative way to convince a cat to come out from under a car is with toys. Yes, cats love to play, but do you know why? It’s because toys initiate their prey drive. Considering some cats don’t get to chase prey like their ancestors did, when a wiggly toy is used in front of them it’s hard for them to deny it. If you try this method, consider using lure toys for better success. If you need to be close to the car, cats that aren’t familiar with you could ignore the toy and remain where they feel safe.

Graceful Cat Walking on Green Grass
Image Credit: Imageman, Shutterstock

4. Use Scents Cat Love

There are certain scents that cats truly enjoy. The most popular, of course, is catnip. While every cat won’t go wild when smelling this, a lot of them will, so it’s worth a shot. Cats are also big fans of blueberry, strawberry, honeysuckle, and chamomile. If catnip doesn’t do the trick and make the cat a little happy, try one of these others to get their attention. Keep in mind, if the cat is unfamiliar to you, stay clear or this method could be a bust.

If the kitty in question is your own cat, don’t forget to try a few of their favorite things. You can set your cat’s favorite toys, bed, or even blankets out by the car. Catching the scent on these items will remind your kitty that these items belong to them and potentially convince them to approach.

5. Spraying Water

Cats aren’t the biggest fans of water. Often, cat owners use spray bottles filled with water as a way to deter cats from doing things they shouldn’t. If you feel this method will work, simply fill a clean water bottle with water. Once you’re by the car, make sure to aim the water bottle from behind the cat. A good spray to the rump could startle the cat into leaving the underside of the car as they aren’t fans of water or the noise made by spray bottles.

If you use this method, there are a few things you should remember. First, never use a spray bottle that has held chemicals in it. Also, never spray water directly into a cat’s face. This can cause disorientation and make the kitty rush off into the road or another dangerous situation.

cat coming out from car engine
Image Credit: Piqsels

6. Physically Removing the Cat

If the kitty under the car is scared or stressed, physically removing the kitty can be dangerous for you. However, there are times when you have no other option. If this is the situation you find yourself in, attempt to herd the cat in the direction you want it to go. For kitties who are within arm’s reach, use your arm and usher them along. When you can’t reach the kitty with your arm, finding an item that can be used to help usher them out from under the car is the next best option. Be prepared for a frightened cat to lash out with claws or teeth when trying this method.

7. Scaring the Kitty

Scaring a cat out from under a car should only be used as a last-resort tactic. To do this, you must monitor the exits the cat can take. It’s best to use something to block off unsafe exits so the cat doesn’t run toward traffic or other dangerous situations. You can even use crates or family members to help control this. When you feel safety precautions have been taken, loud sounds or noisy objects are often the best tools to scare the cat. If you’re successful, the kitty should rush out quickly. If not, you may need to repeat this process a few times.

Keep in mind, if a cat is hiding under a car, they are already scared. While getting them out of danger is important, making them more stressed can be harmful to the kitty. If you try scaring the cat once or twice and have no luck, this may not be the correct method to use. Causing the kitty more trauma is never a good thing.

Scared cat'
Image Credit: SakSa, Shutterstock


The seven methods mentioned above are great ways to get a cat out from under a car. Unfortunately, a few of them could cause the kitty more stress than they’re already experiencing. If you have a cat hiding under your car, remember to do everything in your power to not only remove them safely but to avoid too much fear. Scaring the kitty could easily stress them and make things worse. The cat in question’s health should always be the top priority.

Featured Image Credit: willshare, Shutterstock

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