Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- A Shaw Airman was surprised when the noises coming under the hood of his car had nothing to do with mechanics.
"I was kind of mortified. I didn't know if she was alive or dead," said Senior Airman James Helmick.
Helmick had found another kitten earlier under the hood after hearing noises. After riding around for an hour and a half, he tried to start up the car again.
"We turned the engine on again and felt a pull in the ignition" he said. "So we got out, looked again and this little one was on the ground. She had gotten spit out by the fan."
Bloodied and broken, the kitten now named Mila, was taken to a vet by Helmick and his wife Airman First Class Kat Helmick. Mila suffered a punctured cornea, a crushed tibia, bleeding in the brain and her right back leg was severely fractured.
"The leg was shattered, it was like glass," said Dr. Terrance Hunter of Cheatham Animal Clinic. He saw Mila the next morning after it took almost eight hours to stabalize her.
"It wasn't just a simple fracture. It would have been like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together," he said.
Dr. Hunter amputated Mila's leg the next day. With so many injuries, Mila racked up a $2,000 vet bill.
"I had a jar up on my desk and people would put change in there," said Kat.
James thought of an idea to raise money through an Indiegogo site. One month later, they brought in $3,000. Now, Mila is in good shape.
"Sometimes you can't even notice that she's missing a leg. She runs and jumps and plays and wrestles with our other cat and with our other dogs. And she's feisty," said Kat.