A Moncton, N.B. stray cat may be down to eight lives after surviving an ordeal that saw it trapped in the engine of a car.

After driving home from work last Friday, Wayne Leger was informed by the superintendent of his building that he could hear the cries of a cat coming from his Jeep.

A peek under the hood showed that a stray had gotten tangled in the car's motor.

"We tried to get him out … for about an hour," he told CTV Atlantic. "(We) tried to lift the body and pull on the head a little bit, but you don't want to hurt it and he wasn't coming out."

The little grey cat may have sought refuge from freezing temperatures hovering close to -30 C with the wind chill on Friday morning, and gotten stuck in the car's engine when Leger drove home from work.

Leger and the superintendent called 9-1-1 and a firefighter managed to carefully extract the cat, who was close to death.

"I determined we would have to take the alternator off to get the cat's leg out from the engine block," said firefighter Robert Cormier.

"At first his head flopped over and I wasn't sure if he was alive," he added.

Cormier had to cut the alternator belt, which was frozen to the cat's leg, in order to free the animal.

The cat was taken to a 24-hour animal hospital in critical condition. A veterinarian at the hospital said that the cat's heartbeat was very "faint."

"It was very, very critical when he came in," said Chantal Houle.

"We didn’t even know if he was alive … we couldn't hear his heartbeat because it was so faint," she added.

Despite being able to warm up the cat and restore its vital signs, the animal’s front leg was badly injured and needed to be amputated.

"Often you need to amputate in order to save a life, and saving the limb is not an option," said Houle.

Having survived the ordeal, Houle says the cat's long-term future is good.

And Leger has even decided that he wants to give it a permanent home – he and his finance have applied for adoption.

The hope is that the cat, named Robert after its rescuer, will have a home to keep it out of the cold and, hopefully, away from the engine of Leger's car.

"You can't let anything die,” said Leger.

"If you can save a cat's life – you save a cat's life."

With a report CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis