Peterbilt, the Hitchhiking Kitten ~ A Feel-Good Animal Story

Peterbilt, the hitchhiking kitten, rests comfortably in his foster home as he prepares to move to his ‘fur-ever’ home ~ Courtesy image (c) 2021 all rights reserved


Billerica Animal Control Officer Ashley Chmiel at the Lowell Humane Society ~ Courtesy image (c) 2021 all rights reserved

Memo to kittens: There has to be an easier way to find a nice home.

This is a happy-ending story that began around 10:30 in the morning back on July 12 at Jiffy Lube on The Great Road. An out-of-state driver stopped in and asked for help identifying a crying sound emanating from under his car.

When members of the crew had a look, they found — a kitten.

“I took him out” of the undercarriage, said Joey Rich, franchise manager. “He was scared – but he was in good shape. That was a first for me.” He added dolefully that the customer didn’t stay for an oil change.

Jiffy Lube personnel called Bedford Police, who verified the rescue and then passed along the contact information for animal control. Bedford’s animal control officer was on bereavement leave, so the next call was to Billerica for mutual aid.

Ashley Chmiel, a Billerica animal control officer, said she thinks the kitten is about nine months old. The stowaway was checked by a veterinarian and spent a couple of days recovering before delivery to the Lowell Humane Society, she said.

“He’s a really sweet, shy kitten,” said Lindsey Andella, development manager at the Lowell shelter. “We ended up naming him Peterbilt,” she said, after the heavy-duty truck brand.

Andella said when Peterbilt arrived in Lowell, staff found that his whiskers and part of his nose had been “singed,” probably from the heat of the engine.

After he was checked out and cleared, Peterbilt went to a foster family, so he can get accustomed to domestic life. Andella said the kitten has already been committed for adoption.

At Jiffy Lube, meanwhile, they’re saying, “From oil changes to, brakes, tires, filters, and more, with our fast, convenient expanded services, You Can Do More in a Jiffy. Just ask Peterbilt.”

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at, or 781-983-1763

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