If You Hit a Cat

STOP

It's basic human decency to stop the car if you have hit a cat.  Even if you don't love cats, the chances are good, there's another person who loves the one you have just hit and will be devastated, not only that they were injured or killed, but that nothing was done to help.

It is also crucial to remember, that statistically, only 25% of road traffic accidents involving cats are fatal, so the chances are good the cat can survive with urgent care - instead of being left to suffer a needlessly slow and painful death because they were abandoned at the scene.

If you have hit a cat while driving, the chances are good that you are in a residential area and not a busy motorway.  In this situation, stopping the car will in no way put you or other drivers at risk, so should not be a reason to keep driving and leave the animal.

As much as you may not want to confront what has just happened - the owner of the cat is counting on you to do the right thing and the decision you make in this crucial moment can be the difference between life and death.

HELP

If the cat was lucky enough to survive the incident, there will still be a need for basic first aid to get them stable / comfortable before the journey to the vets.

NOTE: VETS WILL NOT CHARGE YOU FOR BRINGING AN INJURED OR DECEASED ANIMAL TO THEM.

Firstly, keep calm and assess the situation.  The cat will be terrified and likely in pain, so avoid any sudden movements and aim for slow, gentle body language.

 

The best way to lift an injured cat is with one hand under the chin at the front of the chest, and the other supporting the hind quarters.  If the cat is displaying signs of aggression, it may be better to use a blanket or equivalent to lift them.   

Using a board underneath the cat and gently sliding them onto it, acting as a stretcher, is a good way to avoid causing more damage.   

Once settled, contact your nearest emergency vets and let them know you are en route so they can prepare, then proceed, driving slowly and carefully to avoid any further injury or pain.

It might be worth keeping the details of your local vets somewhere in your glove-box, just in case, or you can use this tool to find your nearest vet.

In some cases, cats will run off. This in no way signals they are OK. Follow our advise on what to do if the cat runs off following a collision. 

REPORT IT

If the cat has sadly been killed, do not call the police as there is nothing they can do to notify the owners.

Although there is currently no obligation to report all animal deaths on roads, the police do advise drivers that, if possible, they should make enquiries to ascertain the owner of domestic animals, such as cats, and advise them of the situation.

If the cat does not have a collar with their details, you can try knocking on doors in the immediate area.  Chances are they live nearby and someone will know who they belong to. This is the most effective way of locating an owner. 

Failing that, you can still take a deceased cat to the vets for microchip scanning and storage in cold facilities, until the owner can be found. You are in no way financially obligated to pay for taking an injured or deceased animal to the vets, If out of hours, there are 24-hour vets operating UK wide - use this tool to find your nearest vet, and this tool, typing in ''emergency vet'' and your location, for your closest emergency 24hr practice. 

You can also get in touch with your local scanning angel who can help offering a free roadside microchip scanning if volunteers are available.

You can contact your local council, however, this option only comes above doing nothing. Not all councils scan/return cats, and the time between reporting and collecting usually means someone else has already moved the cat. This option increases the risk of the owner never having closure.

In addition to all of the above, you can also use lost and found sites like Pets Reunited as well as social media to try and locate the owner.  Many cats are reunited with their owners this way.

© 2017 by CatsMatter

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