Jan. 26 (UPI) -- An Oregon man who was reported to police for driving with his leashed cat riding on the hood of his SUV said the feline enjoys taking low-speed rides.
A video clip that went viral this week shows a leashed cat riding on the hood of a vehicle driving slowly through the parking lot of a Goodwill Superstore and a Taco Bell in Sandy on Monday evening.
"We thought it was a joke initially, just playing a prank on everybody," Taylor Lyn Manuel, who filmed the video, told KATU-TV.
Manuel said the witnesses initially thought the object on the hood was a stuffed cat, but they became concerned when they realized it was a real cat.
Owner Jesse Dorsett said Pixie, a 4-year-old domestic shorthair cat, and his two other cats often come along for the ride when he goes out on calls for his roadside assistance business. He said the felines often help comfort people who feel traumatized by road incidents.
Dorsett said he discovered Pixie, a consummate hunter, liked to climb up on the hood of the vehicle to scan for prey. He said he started letting Pixie ride on the hood while he drives around parking lots at about 5 mph so she can scan the grassy areas for rodents.
Dorsett said he always stops the vehicle if Pixie jumps off, and he or his wife hold onto the feline's leash until she is ready to leave.
"It's hard for me to see how anyone can construe hurting a cat in this scenario, particularly when the cat is on a leash and clearly enjoying the ride," Dorsett told The Oregonian.
Sandy police said there is no law against allowing a cat to ride on the outside of a car, although there is such a law in place for dogs. They said Pixie was not injured, so no animal neglect charges will be sought against Dorsett.
"I've seen videos online of people who have their cats riding on skateboards, riding on motorcycles, surfing and other things," Dorsett said. "In the grand scheme of things, I don't think this is as bad."