How To Get A Cat Out From Under A Car: 6 Effective Methods

Discover effective methods on how to get a cat out from under a car with these expert tips and tricks.

Understanding the Situation: Why Cats Hide Under Cars

Why do cats hide under cars? Cats are known for their curiosity and love of exploring. Cats love hiding in secluded places, even underneath cars. The shade, warmth, and being hidden makes it a perfect spot for cats to lounge in. Understanding why cats hide under cars is crucial in order to effectively coax them out without causing harm.

how to get a cat out from under a car

When attempting to get a cat out from under a car, it’s important to approach the situation calmly and avoid startling the cat. Sudden movements or loud noises can cause the cat to become frightened and retreat further under the vehicle. By understanding the reasons behind a cat’s decision to hide under a car, you can better assess the situation and choose the most appropriate method to safely retrieve the cat.

Whether it’s a stray or your own pet, it’s essential to know how to get a cat out from under a car. This will save you and the feline from a tragic accident. This situation happens a lot in my area since there are so many strays. I made it a habit to honk, stomp my foot under the car, and bang the hood slightly to alert any cat hiding underneath.

Why do cats hide under cars

Methods for how to get a cat out from under a car

Method #1: Lure the cat with food

One of the most effective ways to get a cat from under a car is to lure it with food. In my experience, this rarely fails when I’m dealing with strays.

Any smelly food like a small pinch of tuna, bacon, chicken, or cat food will surely attract a hungry cat.

Tempting the cat from under the car is safer, and it allows the cat to move of its own volition.

If the cat doesn’t want to come out while you hold the food, drop it on the ground and take a few steps back.

This will let the cat know that you mean no harm. Let the cat eat it and feed more to let it calm down (Please read here how to calm a hyper cat).

Once you can pet the cat, you can now wrap it in a blanket. This is usually done by rescue teams instead of chasing or reaching for the cat under the car forcibly.

If you just want to get the cat safe, lure it to a spot away from your car before you drive away.

Method #2: Use the cat’s sense of smell

If the cat doesn’t seem to yield to your tasty trick, you can exploit its keen of smell. Catnip is by far the most effective of all the smelly things I’ve tried. As long as the kitty has the ‘catnip gene’, this trick will not fail.

how to get cat out from under car

Other scents that work are honeysuckle, chamomile, blueberries and strawberries. If it’s your cat you’re getting from under a car, the familiar scent of its blanket will also work. Please read here can cat eat honeydew

Like with food, you can drop the smelly thing on the ground and let the cat approach it. Feral cats tend to be scared of humans, so approaching you might not be the reaction they have in mind.

However, you should know that the undercarriage of the car also has a strong smell. While the kitty could pick up the scent you’re holding, it may prefer to stick to the most familiar odor.

Method #3: Showing the way

If you’re dealing with your cat under the car, shepherding might work. This is done by establishing the path for your cat.

For example, if you want the cat to get into the crate from under the car, placing two planks side by side toward the entrance will encourage it to come closer. Learn more here how to discipline a cat

Your cat will become interested in the plank and sniff it. If the cat isn’t moving, you can move the planks in different directions until it catches the cat’s attention.

Sometimes, the cat will become playful and pounce on the planks.

Method #4. Trick with a toy

While domesticated cats are far from their wild cousins, they still bear a prey drive. You can get a cat from under the car by holding a toy and moving it as if to mimic a prey.

how to get cat out of car

A toy mouse tied on a string always works for my cat Watson. He likes crawling under my car when he’s bored, so this trick always comes in handy for my entire family. Keep dangling the toy until your cat pounces. Slowly move away from the car until you’ve led the cat from underneath.

If you don’t have a toy handy, you can use yourself as the target. Taunt the cat by moving provocatively. Take a few steps backward and tease the cat by acting as if you’re going to pounce. This might work, and the cat will try to attack you.

Method #5. The water trick

If the cat isn’t moving despite your efforts, you can get a spray bottle with clean water. Spray the water on the cat’s rear, and it will surely run away.

Spray it on the rear, not the face. Spraying on the face will disorient the cat, and it will even discourage them from moving. Lastly, never use chemicals, hot water, and anything that will hurt the kitty.

Method #6: Deploy the scare tactic

For cats that don’t seem to get tricked by both food scent, scare tactics are often the quickest alternative. I consider this as a last resort, regardless if it’s my cat Watson or a stray.

Stomping your feet fast can help drive away a cat. Starting the car also works, but again, I don’t recommend this because the cat may get confused. However, if your car is located near traffic, you shouldn’t use scare tactics. The kitty might run into the road and get killed. Learn here how fast can a cat run

What NOT to do when getting a cat out from under the car

Getting a cat from under a car isn’t easy. However, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid if you want to succeed. The following are some of them:

What NOT to do when getting a cat out from under the car

  • Forcibly catching the cat. Let me tell you that forcibly reaching for the cat under the car is plain ridiculous. You’ll surely end up with scratches or bites. Some cats will also stand their ground and attack you instead of running away.
  • Crawling under the car. Crawling under the car is almost similar to forcibly reaching for the cat. The difference is that it will put you in a very vulnerable position. If the cat decides to attack, you can’t escape easily.
  • Poking the cat. Using a stick to poke the cat may work in some cases, but it will also scare the kitty. Brave cats will fight back and defend their territory instead of going away.
  • Hurting the cat. Whatever method you use, never physically hurt the cat. There are many ways to get a feline to walk away from under your car, but violence isn’t one of them.

What can I do to keep a cat from getting in my car engine?

What can I do to keep a cat from getting in my car engine

I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about cats dying in car engines. So to prevent it from happening to me, I use various deterrents. Block any entryways the cat can use to get into your vehicle’s motor.

An alternative shelter will also discourage the cat from choosing your car as a refuge. You can put up a makeshift shelter nearby and put cat food in there.

Others recommend placing mothballs on the engine to drive cats away. I haven’t tried this, and I’m quite concerned about how it will affect the machine.


Now you why cats hide under cars, and several methods on how to get a cat out from under a car safely. Food, scents, and toys will go a long way.

Just make sure that you won’t hurt the cat, no matter how frustrated you are. Scare tactics and spraying water should be considered as the last resorts.

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