TAMPA, Florida — The engine of Staci Kaufman's 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan has always purred like a kitten.
But it was an authentic purr that startled the third-grade teacher in early June during her 45-minute commute to work. Whenever she stopped, however, the noise ceased.
Kaufman pulled into Mercedes-Benz of Tampa after school and explained her predicament. After a few giggles, they hoisted her car. Kitten cries were heard throughout the service department.
"At first two (technicians) were trying to get this kitten out and then 10 guys came over to lend a hand," Kaufman told Edmunds.
Kaufman filmed the rescue, as did several of the employees.
Because the 10-week-old kitten was scared, it kept moving underneath the car, so it took them about 10 to 15 minutes to locate it in the rear wheel under-panel.
"After we figured out where the cat was, the process was quick," Jason Murphy, commercial vehicle technician at Mercedes-Benz of Tampa, told Edmunds.
Besides removing the wheel and the under-panel, he took several screws out of the fender to be able to reach the kitten.
Murphy is a veteran at rescuing animals from Mercedes-Benz vehicles, he said.
"The cat was much easier to get than the snake that got into the dashboard by a child who took his snake to school but it escaped in the car," he said.
Squirrels, rabbits, mice and rats are other animals he's removed.
"It's the humanitarian in me," he said. "When you know an animal is scared or stuck, you want to help it get out."
When Murphy retrieved the kitten, Kaufman teased that she should call the cat Mercedes, she said.
The name stuck and she and her husband, Jon Kaufman, adopted the feline, which received a scar on its head from the harrowing ride.
They promptly wrote the dealership a thank-you note, which was posted June 19 on Facebook.
"Mercedes-Benz of Tampa proved they care about the little things," Kaufman said. "Ten mechanics dropped what they were doing to save the life of this kitten," without charging her for the "service call."
"That means a lot and I will always refer people to their dealership."
Edmunds says: The cat's out of the bag on how one dealership proves it cares about its customers' needs.