An anxious coach driver thought he was losing his marbles after an unexpected traveller stowed away on his bus for a ride to London.

The thrill-seeking passenger turned out to be a heavily pregnant stray cat that was about to give birth and.

Westbus Coach Services Ltd driver Graham Denning was driving his empty bus from Hounslow to Vauxhall last month when he spotted a bushy tail in his rear view mirror, which belonged to a tortoiseshell cat, who he then drove to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Coach manager Tim Miles said: “Our luxury coaches have carried many passengers over the years, from football players to film stars, but I think this is a first time we have had a cat decide to travel with us.

“The driver was in the centre of London when he discovered his feline friend, so she managed to take in some of the sites during the journey out to Battersea, from the comfort of our coach.”

On arrival, staff at the animal charity, which took in more than 2,500 cats last year, tried their best to coax the travelling tabby out from behind the dashboard but the cat was determined to stay in her new four wheeled home.

Battersea’s head of intake Liz McWalter said: “Using the driver's tools we unscrewed the dashboard to find a dusty, bewildered and stressed cat.

“We called her Olive and just as she was settling in to the Cattery, Olive had another surprise up her sleeve for us. Within hours she had given birth to four kittens.

“We’re so pleased her journey ended at Battersea so we could give her the care she needed.

“Unfortunately, she was not microchipped so her owner could not be traced.

“Olive is not the only animal to give birth at the home.

“So far this year, over 40 cats have been born at the animal charity’s three centres.

“Unfortunately two of Olive’s kittens didn't make it, but the two that did are healthy and Olive is coping well after her adventurous journey.”

Olive and her two kittens are now in search of a new home and Battersea employees have asked animal lovers living within an hour of London to foster a cat or kitten.