top of page
If You Hit a Cat
Sadly accidents happen but it's basic human decency to stop the car if you have hit a cat. Even if you don't like cats the chances are good that 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, it is likely that you are in a residential area and not on 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.
If the cat was lucky enough to survive the incident, there might 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 will act as a stretcher and is a good way to avoid causing further damage or complications.
Once settled, you can contact your nearest vets and let them know you are en route so they can prepare, but they will allow an unannounced walk in for emergency cases.
Proceed driving carefully to avoid any further injury or pain and try to remain as calm as possible.
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 advice on what to do if the cat runs off following a collision.
If you suspect the cat is pregnant or lactating, regardless of being alive or deceased, please follow our advice here. You might just help save numerous lives.
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 they should make enquiries to ascertain the owner of domestic animals, such as cats, and advise them of the situation wherever possible.
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 or someone will know who they belong to. This is an effective way of locating an owner swiftly.
You can also 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 by offering 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 results in someone else having 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, both locally and nationally, to try and locate the owner. Many cats are reunited with their owners this way.
bottom of page