Are we really a nation of Pet Lovers? Our Cats Matter Study may prove otherwise

We at Cats Matter are on a mission to challenge UK law surrounding cat's welfare on our roads, because all cats matter. Now we have the stats to show how much Cats Matter.

Following years of campaigning for the UK Government to make it a legal requirement for drivers to stop if they hit a cat on UK roads. We have now carried out an experiment to show that the majority of drivers would not stop and take responsibility for a cat on the road.

We also suspected beyond reasonable doubt, that the majority of drivers would not stop for a cat in the road, but we want to test this for ourselves.

We also wanted to test a personal theory of ours - that our White/fair coloured cats were visible to the drivers who hit and left them in the road, and that possibly, they were hit intentionally as a result.

We have recently carried out a study to monitor accidents on UK roads involving cats. We are said to be a nation of pet lovers but will our study prove the statistics wrong?

The details of the study

Our test subjects, Yin (a pretend black cat) and Yang (a pretend white cat), would be placed in the road replicating a deceased cat. Each would be placed in the same spot individually. They each would be the stars of 3 experiments - 250 cars during the day, 250 cars during the evening as it got dark and 250 cars at night where they would be wearing a super reflective collar.

We chose a residential 30MPH area which has a steady flow of traffic. Each side of the road is double yellows so as drivers could not swerve in to parked cars plus, just 6-8 metres ahead is a very busy ring road so drivers would automatically need to be slowing down regardless.

We also placed the test subjects slightly away from the gutter directly in the road. The setting was as safe and natural as possible so as not to influence drivers either way and to make sure that no risks were open to drivers or ourselves. We recorded the drivers reactions.

During the day experiment we noticed something odd. The majority of drivers did not even glance at the 'object' in the road. We only recorded drivers reactions on the side of the road which Yin and Yang were placed yet we noticed drivers coming either way did not glance very often to check the object out.

Notes from the Study

More than 3 times the amount of people stopped for Yang over Yin, and Yin also suffered some deliberate collisions. You could argue the Yin would be less noticeable than Yang but the results of drivers who either swerved or continued on as normal for each of the cats in the day, remained almost identical.

When the darkness fell we tried the same experiment once again, and again instantly noticed something odd yet this time it was opposite of what we had

witnessed during the day. Drivers seemed to be a lot more alert during the evening.

This time rather than the majority of drivers continuing without noticing the cats, the majority of drivers were swerving to miss each cat with again very similar results suggesting there is not much difference between the colours and how they are perceived at first glance by the driver - each seems to be just as noticeable.

Yin again was deliberately hit more often than Yang and no one stopped to check on Yin whereas Yang did have a few sympathisers.

Once the collars were on there was only a slight change in general although it appeared to help Yin slightly as more drivers noticed her and swerved to miss her but worryingly, more cars intentionally hit Yang during the night whilst she was wearing the collar.

The irritating thing to note is, in total, 834 drivers swerved around Yin & Yang without breaking or slowing down. Not one of those drivers made any attempts to double check on the cats but did notice to the point they swerved. 626 drivers made no change to their driving what so ever which is worrying considering that many people are not actually watching the road or paying attention what so ever.

The fact also that 22 drivers went out of their way to speed up and swerve off course to intentionally hit, as they thought, the cat is deeply sad and upsetting. As, we are supposed to be a nation of Pet Lovers.

The findings – looking forward

We knew we had a challenge on our hands but now it is clear exactly how big a fight we have on our hands. We have MP and government departments reviewing our proposals currently, and we have suggested large fines for those who fail to stop should this become law in the near future.

Given the results here, and the gravity of the situation, we will push for as high a fine as we can.

If you would like more details about the report and about Cats Matter please email:

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