WHEN Winnie the wandering cat stayed away from home for three days, her loving owners were frantic with worry.

They searched for the two-year-old tabby and asked neighbours where she might be, all to no avail.

But then, animal lover Curtis Brown, aged 10, solved the mystery.

He found the stricken animal under the bonnet of a car.

After Curtis’s shocked dad Tony worked his magic with his trusty craft knife, Winnie was free, much to the relief of her caring owners.

“Of all the places! We’ve heard of cats going under cars but to go in the bodywork is quite strange,” said Mr Brown, aged 50, of Bowen Street, Bolton. The aircraft constructor added: “We got Winnie two years ago. She’s adventurous but she always comes home for her food.

“She went missing on Saturday and we were quite worried by Tuesday. We looked everywhere for her.”

Curtis was out playing football with friends near the A1 Chinese Takeaway on Chorley Old Road when he heard a familiar ‘meow’ sound.

The Church Road Primary School pupil said: “I heard a cat so I looked through the grill on the front of the car and two big cats eyes were looking back at me. It was a bit scary.”

Curtis went into the chip shop and spoke to Brent Mitchell who works there and owns the car, a Toyota Rav 4.

“The lad told me ‘there’s a cat stuck in your car grill’ and I thought he was having me on,” said Mr Mitchell, aged 31.

He added: “His dad managed to prise it free by loosening some of the catches and making space in the grill. It was a pretty eventful Tuesday night!”

Mr Brown added: “Perhaps Winnie felt the heat from the engine and wanted warming up.”