YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the temperature dips and winter nears, cats will often seek out any warm shelter they can find, and a warm car engine tends to be a popular spot.

If you are not able to park your car in a garage, try to get in the habit of doing a quick check for cats before you start the engine. Cats will seek warmth by sitting between the engine and the hood.

Jane MacMurchy with Animal Charity of Ohio says especially here in the Valley there tends to be a lot of feral cat colonies throughout the suburbs and city.

“Tap on the car. Open up the hood. If you see frequent animals that are coming around or around your car, you should definitely take precautions because once you start that engine and those belts start going, you can injure a cat severely,” she said.

If that doesn’t work, try removing the cat yourself or honking your horn, starting a car with a cat up there could kill them or burn them.

“One of my cats that I have at home was rescued that way. They were up in a car engine and luckily somebody found him before they started their car,” MacMurchy said.

MacMurchy encourages individuals to trap, neuter, and release cats to try to prevent this.

“You can provide outdoor shelters with a small box with hay or straw into to provide somewhere for them to go that is out of the elements,” she said.

MacMurchy advises that if you start taking care of animals that live outdoors, they are your responsibility.