This controversial topic is one that needs addressing for the safety of cats and human road users too.
Campaigners from the CatsMatter group have contacted OTS News. They stated:
“Our aims are to challenge the laws surrounding it being legally ok for drivers to hit a cat and not stop to help and of course the fact that councils, who collect the ‘roadkill’ in the aftermath, are not obliged to scan them and notify distraught owners. We know personally how this feels having personally lost cats to the road and through our public campaigns we have found the general consensus to be the same as ours – anger and outrage!”
Furthermore, this following extract is by a cat owner who wrote to OTS News and is seeking to improve so-called ‘cat’s rights’…
TO THE PERSON WHO RAN OVER MY CAT
By CatsMatter Founder, Tiya Ivy
“His name was Henry. But then, if you had stopped to help him, you would have known that from the tags on his collar. I don’t know whether it was his fault because he simply spooked and jumped out in front of you leaving no time to stop, or whether you were going too fast. The vet who did the post-mortem said you were…and that you knew you hit him. Is that true? We’re you being reckless? Maybe you were drunk? There are a lot of things I don’t know about his end, because you just left him. Only you and Henry know what happened that tragic night.”
Our busy UK roads are dangerous places for humans as well as for animals.
Although one may of course feel sympathy for a bereaved owner of ‘any’ pet killed on the road, other people have suggested that the question of blame and responsibility for such a death rests exclusively with the cat owner.
OTS News has reported over the years on numerous lost cats, some of which have been killed on our roads. Again, the responsibility must initially reside with the owner, who lets the pet roam wild in the first place.
Some concerned residents have asked why exactly was the cat permitted to run ‘out of control’ near a dangerous roadway; did the owner not realise that unattended pets are killed in their thousands each years on our roads?
More importantly, such a situation may potentially threaten the safety of humans as well as the unfortunate pet. Public calls for pet owners to be prosecuted for such obvious recklessness have been highlighted before.
Today, many responsible cat owners are realising that roads are certainly not safe places to let their pets wander across. It is also highly unfair to blame drivers for hitting roaming cats that are let out alone in the day, or indeed after darkness.
The responsible cat owner must ensure that their pet does ‘not’ roam free and endanger road users.
The same type of vital responsibility also ensures that cats are properly neutered so that they do not add to the appalling cat litter crisis that many cat charities are struggling to cope with at present. Unscrupulous back-street kitten breeding is a serious concern too.
More education is needed for irresponsible pet owners, according to animal experts.
The RSPCA says…
Tackling the cat overpopulation crisis
‘The cat population in the UK has reached crisis point. Despite subsidised neutering schemes from rescue organisations, more and more cats are coming into our care and less homes are taking in cats. Our centres are full and we’re left to pay expensive private boarding fees. Urgent action is needed to increase neutering rates and reduce the number of unlucky cats that end up in rescue centres.’
The RSPCA has warned that it is “full to capacity” due to the soaring number of abandoned and unwanted cats
More on the cat breeding crisis here.
Responsibility is the key word although many lethargic owners will still not face this essential fact. If you love your pet then why are you letting it roam free on the roads?
This is not love – it is blatant irresponsibility!
Experts warn on a global scale that wandering and stray cats are also a huge drain on our native wildlife, such as nesting birds and endangered mammals. This is a very serious issue that must be addressed to help halt growing ecological decimation. More housing developments naturally bring in more families with cats that are allowed to roam the surrounding countryside with devastating effect on existing wildlife populations.
Advice for pet owners with bird-killing cat problems…
The message is that if you love your cat then please be a responsible owner and do not let it roam free. If you do then eventually it may get run over and even cause a fatal road accident for some unlucky family. You owe it to your pet as well to keep it safe!
The CatsMatter campaigners also advise drivers to …
‘SLOW DOWN. This is the single most important thing you can do. If you’re driving through a residential area, chances are good there will be cats roaming – particularly at night when they are most active. If you drive slower, there’s more time to see and stop quickly if needed…and, in the unfortunate event you do hit a kitty, their odds of survival will great increase the slower you are driving.’
Sadly, some drivers will always drive too fast. However, the most important thing any cat owner can do to stop cat deaths on roads is to stop their pet wandering free. Some cats do have a dangerous habit of rushing out in front of vehicles at the last moment. A driver cannot be blamed for hitting an uncontrolled pet that rushes out, especially on a dark wet night.
One cat death may be tragic to the distraught owner who has allowed the animal to roam free. Nevertheless, the same cat may cause a driver to instinctively slam on his/her brakes and have a serious accident. Human life must also be considered in this instance.
How to report any death or injured animal
‘You can report any dead animals you find on the road to the local council. This includes wild animals like badgers and foxes, as well as domestic pets such as cats and dogs.’
For owners of uncontrolled cats the leading question must be:
“Do you know which roadway YOUR cat is running across today?”
Pat Regan ©