A feral kitten’s life was saved after it was recovered from the engine of a car following a five hour rescue mission in the middle of the night.

Polo was named by leading firefighter Elliot Lister, who attended the scene following a call made by volunteers from Greenwich Wildlife Network.

On October 21 at around 8pm, volunteers of Greenwich Wildlife Network arrived at the scene in Frances Street in Woolwich, after receiving a call from a member of the public that what they believed was a kitten was stuck in a car.

The passer-by could hear “loud meows” coming from the vehicle.

The volunteers spent some time at the scene in their attempts to lure the cat safely out of the car.

News Shopper: A young kitten was rescued from a car in WoolwichA young kitten was rescued from a car in Woolwich (Image: Rae Gellel)

However, having attended a similar rescue previously, where a rabbit had been stuck in car under similar circumstances, they soon realised they were facing “a real challenge.”

With no success, volunteers decided to call the London Fire Brigade for further aid.

Greenwich Wildlife Network founder, Rae Gellel, said: "As always, London Fire Brigade were amazing - the firefighters arrived in minutes and were kind and attentive."

However, the rescue team needed to elevate the car, which required permission from the owner.

After some assistance from police, Greenwich Wildlife Aid were able to make contact with the owner of the vehicle, who agreed to allow firefighters to work to save the kitten.

The ordeal lasted five hours, with firefighters growing increasingly concerned that they would be required to cut the car in half to rescue the kitten.

Various parts of the car were removed in a bid to rescue the animal, and sometime later fire crews were eventually able to save the animal, a female kitten.

According to London Fire Brigade, the team believe that she had climbed into the car for warmth.

News Shopper: Firefighters at the scene Firefighters at the scene (Image: Rae Gellel)

Rae said: "We were so relieved and grateful; that the kitten was saved and that we could also finally go home to pee. We owe a huge, huge thank you to everyone that helped save this little life - the car’s owner, the police, and of course the heroes at London Fire Brigade."

The kitten is believed to be very young, and volunteers from Greenwich Wildlife Network suspect she is a stray cat from a litter, with potentially other stray kittens that could currently be living feral.

Rae has said she is currently working to socialise the cat, who she believes had lived feral before being rescued.

Rae explained: "The difference between a feral cat and your regular stray is that ferals have never had a home. They’ve had no contact with humans in their first weeks of life, and because of that, they’ve reverted to a more wild state.

"They’re terrified of direct contact with humans, and are extra flighty and sensitive.

"As a rescue organisation that deals predominantly with wildlife, we spend a lot of time trying not to inadvertently tame wild animals - it makes a change to be doing the total opposite.”

Polo has been receiving medical care after arriving with fleas and parasites following her time on the streets.

News Shopper: Pogo was rescued following a five hour rescue mission.Pogo was rescued following a five hour rescue mission. (Image: Rae Gellel)

Firefighter Elliot said "When we arrived, we assessed the scene and were shown some pictures that the Greenwich Wildlife Network had managed to take of the cat stuck in the car.

"We couldn't get underneath the car, or through the wheel arches. The kitten was running around at the bottom of the car’s engine plate, obviously scared."

"I was getting worried that we'd have to cut the car open or leave and hope that the kitten could find its own way out.

"Instead, we decided to try and jack the car up on one side so that we could lever the engine plate down and get the kitten out.

News Shopper: Pogo has received medical treatment and is being socialised following his time on the streets.Pogo has received medical treatment and is being socialised following his time on the streets. (Image: Rae Gellel)

"Once we'd jacked up the car, we had to force the kitten over to one corner, when the worker from Greenwich Wildlife Network managed to grab it and retrieve it safely."

"When the kitten came out, I was really surprised at how small it was - it was about the size of an orange and was probably a newborn. I think that without our help, it was too young to have made its own way out of the car."

Polo is currently under the care of Rae, who has confirmed that she will be up for adoption in the coming weeks following more work to socialise her.

Rae said: “She arrived quite feral, hissing, and growling at the volunteers.

“Her mum was probably a stray cat who gave birth on the street, so she’s probably never known human contact before.

News Shopper: Polo is currently under the care of Greenwich Wildlife Network. Polo is currently under the care of Greenwich Wildlife Network. (Image: Rae Gellel)

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working on socialising her and, whilst she’s still very shy and timid, she’s starting to learn that we humans mean her no harm, and she even purred for the first time the other day.”

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said: "As we enter the winter months, we urge all vehicle owners to check their cars for animals before turning on their engines.

“Firefighters love animals, and we are ready, willing and able to assist distressed or injured animals – the last thing we want is for people to put themselves at risk rescuing an animal themselves – but we do encourage people to call the RSPCA in the first instance and we will assist if our specialist equipment is required, as in this case.”