Currently, under the Road Traffic Act 1988, a driver must give their details if they run over and injure a goat, pig, sheep, mule, ass, cattle, horse or dog but this does not apply to cats, surprisingly. It is clearly a current anomaly and one individual, Luke Martin, started a petition when his 10-year-old daughter was devastated after their cat, Nala, was hit by a driver who did not stop.
The petition has been started on the government’s official website and it is asking for cats to be included under the act.
It certainly appears to be an anomaly in the modern age. Martin thinks that it gives the impression that it is perfectly fine for someone to hit a cat and do nothing about it. He even thinks that some people might do it deliberately. He wouldn’t be wrong in point of fact. Apparently, many of Martyn’s neighbours have suffered in the same way with the loss of their cat to traffic. His daughter is devastated. However, it does call into question the culture in Britain of letting cats roam freely even in heavy traffic areas.
If his petition achieves 10,000 signatures the government has to respond to it. If it achieves 100,000 signatures it has to be debated in Parliament. There’s another campaign going on and it concerns how local councils deal with the bodies of domestic cats killed in road traffic accidents.
At present they don’t have to go through the same procedures as they would for domestic dogs. This campaign run by catsmatter.org is asking for what Martin is asking for as well as making it mandatory for all councils to scan for a microchip every time a cat is found on the roadside having been hit by a vehicle.
In the UK about 250,000 cats are killed on the roads annually and 46% of them are aged between 7 months and 24 months while 62% are male both neutered and neutered (according to a study). Clearly young male cats are the most likely to be hit by a car on the road. And most of the accidents occur at night time which is unsurprising as domestic cats are crepuscular in their activity, meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk.
It is clearly time for the law to be changed but I suspect that it won’t be for quite a long while because the country is currently going through the coronavirus crisis and there are so many other things to do which are probably rated as a higher priority by the government.