EXCLUSIVECat-astrophe avoided at "Dancing With the Stars" -- when a stowaway kitten that had been stuck inside a car's motor was rescued by two PAs -- who heard the engine purring -- literally.
Production sources tell us ... the PAs heard noises from a random vehicle on the lot. They walked up to the car and heard the meows ... then discovered a kitten trapped under the hood.
Interesting Fact: Cats are known to climb near car engines to stay warm at night.
Back to the story ... The PAs tried luring the critter out with tuna ... when that didn't work, one of them crawled under the car, reached into the engine compartment and snatched the kitty.
The most amazing part ... the heroes believe the stray was inside the engine when the driver took the car from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood.
The DWTS wardrobe dept. is now caring for the cat ... which they've named Steve ... and he's feel-ine fine.