By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) - A brown and black shorthair cat now named "Lucky" is one fortunate feline after managing to survive while trapped under water for at least an hour inside a sunken powerboat in Arizona.
"It's really a miracle," Dive Time Recovery owner Jon Zuccala, who pulled the submerged boat from a sandbar north of Lake Havasu City, told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday. "I would have named her 'Eight' because after all this, I'm sure she has used up one of her nine lives."
Zuccala said he was called to the scene by authorities on Saturday afternoon to hoist the boat to the shore from the lake's bottom. The boat was then towed to his shop where a mechanic went to work the next morning to flush out the engine.
"The cat just darted out when he opened up the hatch," Zuccala said. "She was wet, scared, thirsty, but she was alive."
Lucky's quick escape proved problematic as the 10-pound (5.5 kg) plus cat became wedged into some upholstery on the boat before again being set free.
Just how the cat became trapped inside a storage compartment at the boat's bow has not been determined. Zuccala said the boat's owner is from Orange County, California, and he reported that he does not own a cat.
Zuccala said no one heard a sound, or even a meow, until the cat sprang to freedom and was taken to the Western Arizona Humane Society.
Originally named River by a volunteer, the cat was given the more fitting name of Lucky by the society's executive director, Patty Gillmore.
Gillmore said the feline was doing well, but was a bit anti-social with the other animals. If she is not claimed by her owner by Thursday morning, a local woman with ties to the shelter wants to adopt her, Gillmore said.
(Editing by Curtis Skinner and Sandra Maler)