A kitten that almost died after stowing away underneath a car bonnet has recovered from horrific injuries to find his furr-ever home.
Mischievous moggy Sox hid inside the vehicle before its owner, William Holden, switched on the engine and drove to work.
The feline is thought to have fallen out around 100 yards down the road and ran back to Mr Holden’s garden shed, where he was born six weeks earlier.
A day later Mr Holden discovered Sox with a patch of skin torn from his front right leg.
He rushed the cat to Gilmoor Vets in Durham, where a surgeon had to carry out reconstructive surgery and amputate of of the kitten’s toes.
Sprightly Sox has now recovered from his injuries and been adopted by Mr Holden, who already owned two other cats called Boots and Tinks.
The businessman, who runs a company supplying landscape materials and decorative gravel, said the cat was part of a litter of five feral kittens born in his garden shed.
He thinks three of the animals were underneath his bonnet when he set off for work, with one falling out on the way and another jumping out after he arrived at work.
Mr Holden, who said: “I had just set off for work in my car, which was parked on my drive, but when I reached a crossroads, only 100 yards away, I saw something in the middle of the road that must have been one of the kittens.
“When I arrived at work, Sox’s brother jumped out from underneath the bonnet.
“One of the kittens must have been knocked over on my way to work.
He added: “I took Sox to Gilmoor Vets as he was badly injured.
“He must have fallen into the road but somehow made it the 100 yards home, which was amazing for a little kitten.
“I’ve used Gilmoor Vets for 30 years and the vet who operated did an amazing job as he was in a terrible state, but he has completely recovered.”
Gilmoor Vets nurse Sarah Willetts, who helped to care for Sox during his week in the veterinary practice, said: “He was very shaken and scared, and hissing because he was in so much pain. It was a traumatic experience for such a young kitten.
“We decided to keep him and help him back to health following surgery. He was a lovely little patient and we are so delighted he has found a loving home.
“It is so rewarding when you see a stray get a happy ending.”
The three other surviving kittens were taken with their mother to Consett Cat Rescue, but Mr Holden plans to adopt another kitten from the litter.
Their mother has been neutered to prevent her having any further unwanted litters of kittens.
Mr Holden added: “Sox is showing no ill effects of what happened and hopefully something good has come of what happened as he now has a home for life.
“He is a huge character and a little devil at times as he chases the other two cats around the house and is full of mischief. I’ve had cats all my life and I live on my own so they’re great company.”