I nearly had a grilled cat for brunch enroute to Dubai.

It would have been an accident. But this is how the story goes.

I got into my car and started the engine. There are a lot of stray cats in Abu Dhabi, so I assumed that one was propped up in the garbage bin close by – I could hear one mewing desperately.

A knock on my car window brought me back from my thoughts. It was a stranger and I was in a fix. Do I reel down the window or just ignore him?

“Madam, there is a cat in your car,” he said.

“A what? How can that be? My car was locked all this time!”

My friend's pedigree cat, Mittens. He's safely in the UK, not stuck in my carburetor. photo © Preethi Janice D'Sa

“Ma’am, look under your car.” Was he kidding me? There I was in a cramped Abu Dhabi car park squatting to catch sight of the ‘cat’ presumably sitting underneath my car.

I then noticed that the mewing got even louder and more desperate. “Madam, the cat is in your carburetor. Turn your engine off.”

Aah, now he tells me.

So there I was struggling to get the front hood of the car open and there sat within a small cat, mewing beyond my imagination. It refused to budge.

I was pressing for time. I needed to get onto Yas Island bridge as soon as I could, as I had meetings plugged in all day in Dubai. But not at the cost of my car smelling like fried meat. (That would be great cause for me to become vegetarian).

There I was standing, imagining who I could call to help me from my desperate. The stranger didn’t look like a Feline Friends Abu Dhabi so I discounted him. Sure, I had once written about Colin and Anita Signorino, volunteers at the Feline Friends Abu Dhabi and how they save cats from various situations. I grappled for my mobile phones (I’ve got three) and none of them had the Signorino’s mobile number saved in them. I started to get quite worried and then saw that the stranger grabbed hold of a stick and prodded the kitten (no injury to it whatsoever, all ye cat lovers) so that it would jump back to the ground.

The stranger went on to tell me that the kitten had found refuge in my carburetor for the last three days (and it was a long weekend so I didn’t move the car).

Days later, when I set off to the Feline Friends Abu Dhabi Christmas fair (this time as a visitor and video blogger as opposed to a jewelry vendor), I not only checked the tyres and the oil in the car, but also looked for the cat. I guess I learnt a lesson.

My dad always cautioned me to check the oil of the car before taking journeys between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Now, I check for that elusive cat hiding in the warm shelter called ‘my car.’

I’ll let you to enjoy the mini-video I’ve taken on the Feline Friends Abu Dhabi Christmas Bazaar at the Abu Dhabi City Golf club. Don’t worry, no carburetor fried cats in the video. Go enjoy your burger now.