NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A police officer saved a cat trapped in the jaws of a coyote who was no doubt planning on having the pet for breakfast.

It was the early hours of the morning and Newport Beach police Officer Dallas Lopez was driving through the Port Streets with his headlights dimmed, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

Through the dark, he could make out a coyote crossing his path and that something was hanging from its mouth.

That turned out to be a large cat.

Lopez drove closer to the coyote and flashed his spotlight. The startled coyote dropped the orange tabby cat and scampered into the darkness.

It wasn’t the first time this 11-year-old cat, whose owner Kelsey Whitmer identified as “Piper,” has proven himself a survivor.

Whitmer tells CBS2’s Stacey Butler that she adopted the cat in 2004 when he was a kitten, the only survivor of a litter killed by a dog minutes after being born. That was Piper’s first brush with death.

The Newport Beach resident affectionately called him “Pipperty-Piety” and her bond with the cat was clear: wherever Kelsey went, Piper went. If she was shopping, Piper also took in the sights from Whitmer’s oversized purse. If Whitmer was rollerblading, Piper came along for the ride in her backpack. And when Whitmer went to the beach, the cat was in a laundry basket at her side.

When Whitmer met the man who would become her husband, not even his allergies could get in the way of her bond with the tabby cat. They say allergy shots helped them get over that hurdle. The couple’s two children came to love “Pipperty-Piety” as much as their mother does.

On May 3, when Officer Lopez approached Piper in the roadway, little did he know he was saving a beloved member of the Whitmer family.

The feline – true to its survivor instincts – summoned its last ounce of fight to arch his back, growl and do whatever else he could muster in an effort to intimidate the man looming over him. Lopez reached out to gently touch the cat, and Piper, exhausted and severely wounded, lay down in the middle of the street.

Lopez and Officer Travis Cooke transported the cat to Central Orange County Emergency Animal Clinic. Later that morning, he was taken to AAA Animal Hospital in Huntington Beach.

Piper had suffered a broken jaw, several broken ribs and deep wounds along his back. One of the lacerations was deep enough to have punctured the cat’s abdominal cavity, which had caused internal bleeding.

Despite all this, veterinarians expect Piper will heal.

The beloved pet was released to the Whitmer family on Tuesday and is recuperating at home.

This cat’s road to recovery may not be easy, but this cat miraculously escaped yet another fur-raising ordeal, and that, Kelsey feels, warrants a new nickname: “Piper the Wonder Cat.”

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