WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — When Bill Fallon, a service advisor at Colonial Volkswagen in Westborough, saw a cat scurry out from under the car, he said he could guess what had caused the generator light to flash.
A black cat, badly burned from the rear right leg all the way to his ear, had travelled from Boston to Westborough caught in the fan belt of his customer's car.
"The customer went to back the car into the shop, and the cat jumped out," Fallon said. "That's when I went out there to see how bad he was, and he was really bad."
Fallon, a cat owner himself, called animal control and fed the cat part of his sandwich, thinking it might be his last meal and he should be treated to something good.
John Keefe of Westborough Animal Control corralled the cat, which tried to escape, but could only get to the next car before stopping.
"[Keefe] got him and he tried to hiss, but he was so weak and tired it wasn't much of a hiss," Fallon said.
Keefe brought the badly injured cat to the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals, where he was admitted in an "unstable condition," according to intern Dr. Leslie Kibler, who had the cat transferred to her care Thursday.
"He looked much worse than he does now. Upon admission he was badly burnt and matted with blood," said Kibler, who estimated the cat's age to be around 5. "He's much more bright and alert after getting some fluids into him."
The cat is described as black and long-haired with yellow eyes. It also looked well-fed and was neutered, leading Kibler to guess it was owned by someone recently.
Since the cat is in stable condition, the animal hospital will now try to seek the cat's owners by checking for reports of missing cats in Boston and around area animal shelters. Kibler said this situation is particularly difficult without knowing exactly where the cat originated from.
The hospital declined to release a picture of the cat until efforts can be made to locate the owner. If no owner is identified, the hospital will look for an adoptive home.
"We're not an animal shelter, but for animals with a medical condition it's a different situation," Kibler said, noting the amount of time the hospital will house an animal varies case by case.
The cat's name is unknown, but Keefe said those at the Volkswagen dealership came up with their own nickame.
"They were calling it 'the miracle cat,'" Keefe said.