A seven-week-old kitten named Lucky used up the first of her nine lives after crawling into the engine space of a Land Rover Discovery.
Police had to remove parts of the engine to reach Lucky
Officers were called on Tuesday to Barnstaple, Devon, after the car owners said they could not reach the kitten.
The long arm of the law also failed to coax Lucky out and a police escort had to be used to move the car slowly back to their station's car workshops.
Two police mechanics managed to release Lucky after 45 minutes.
The kitten did not appear to have suffered any ill effects apart from hunger after her ordeal.
Police are now trying to trace the kitten's owners.
Pc Dawn Bailey, of Barnstaple Police station, said: "We are very keen to trace the owners of Lucky who still may be quite unaware that she is missing.
"Removing her from the engine has been one of the more unusual tasks in my policing career, but we are here to help anyone and we are all relieved that Lucky is in good health."
Lucky has been taken to a veterinary surgery in Bude, where she will be cared for until her owner is traced.