Svenja Dabbert said she and her two friends rented the Nissan at the Dublin Airport and drove the 167 miles to Cork with only one stop along the way, The Evening Herald, Dublin, reported Tuesday.
"We had absolutely no idea there was a kitten anywhere in the car -- we didn't hear any 'mewing' noises as we drove down," she said. "We did hear noises in Dublin but thought it was the ring tone of a phone because people have such unusual tones on their phones."
Dabbert said the group again heard a strange sound during a stop at the Rock of Cashel, but they took a look under the car's hood and did not see anything unusual.
"We arrived at our bed-and-breakfast and when my friend looked out the window she saw a kitten sitting beside the wheel," Dabbert said. "We went down but there was no sign of the animal. We could hear her in the engine but when we opened it we could not catch her."
The Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals coaxed the kitten out with help from photographer Daragh McSweeney.
The society said the kitten, dubbed Maude after the owner of the bed-and-breakfast, was uninjured by the trip beneath the hood of the vehicle and is now seeking a home.