Factors that May Predispose Cats to Road Traffic Accidents

Tomcat with healed leg fracture.

Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are a common cause of injury and death for outdoor-access cats.  Olsen and Allen (2001) found that 51% of outdoor-access cats that suddenly and unexpectedly died were the result of RTAs, and Rochlitz et al. (2001) found that RTAs were the forth most common cause of death for cats after old age, cancer, and renal failure.  Based on the results of this study, Rochlitz (2003) conducted a more in-depth study to determine which factors may predispose cats to being involved in a RTA.  This study is particularly interesting because the results can be used to improve behavioral profiling of lost outdoor-access cats.

The cat’s age and sex were the two most important factors in determining whether s/he would be involved in a RTA.  Cats between the ages of 7 months to 2 years were most likely to be in a RTA and cats 6 years or older were less likely.  Overall, the likelihood of being in a RTA decreased by 16% for every year increase in the cat’s age.  Rochlitz (2003) suggests that this may be due to changes in the behavior of cats as they get older such as spending more time indoors, staying closer to home, and being more cautious.  Male cats were more than twice as likely to be involved in a RTA as female cats.  Due to small sample size, Rochlitz (2003) was unable to determine whether being spayed or neutered was a significant factor.  However, other studies have found that un-neutered male cats have much larger home ranges than neutered males or spayed or un-spayed females, which suggests they might be more likely to be in a RTA.  Rochlitz (2003) was unable to determine why males in general were more likely to be in a RTA than females, but males were found to spend more time outdoors than female cats.

The cat’s pedigree also effected whether s/he might be involved in a RTA.  Pedigree cats, mostly Siamese, Persian and Burmese in this study, were less than a third as likely to be hit by a car as domestic short-hair/long-hair cats or mixed breed cats.  The difference in risk for pedigree cats may be partly due to differences in the owner’s behavior and the cat’s behavior such as owners interacting with their cats more and cats spending more time indoors.

Other factors that were significant included traffic levels and whether the cat wore a reflective collar.  Cats were less likely to be in a RTA in areas with very low to low traffic levels and more likely to be in a RTA in areas with below-average to average traffic levels.  Strangely, cats living in areas with above-average to high traffic levels were not more or less likely to be hit by a car.  Another puzzling outcome of the study was that cats wearing reflective collars were more likely to be in a RTA.  Rochlitz (2003) was unable to determine a reason for this observation.

Almost equally important as the significant factors, Rochlitz (2003) also found that some factors did not influence whether a cat would in a RTA.  These factors included: coat color, whether the cat was allowed outside at night, season, the amount of time spent outside, and the time lived at an address.  Contrary to what was expected, dark colored cats and cats that were let outside at night, were not more likely to be hit by a car.  This particular study was conducted in Cambridge, UK, and surrounding towns, so the lack of seasonal differences may not be generalized to other areas of the world with different climates.  While amount of time spent outside was not independently linked to an increased risk of a RTA, cats in the high risk categories (i.e. young cats, male cats, and mixed-breed cats) all spent more time outside.  Time lived at an address was also strongly linked to the age of the cat and how much time s/he spent outdoors.  The sample of older cats that had moved (3) was really too small to determine if this was an influencing factor.

Rochlitz (2003) also attempted to measure some of the characteristics of RTAs.  Most RTAs (69%-80%) occurred just outside or very near the cat’s home.  However, this data may be biased because cats that were involved in RTAs farther from home may be less likely to be found by their owners’ and brought to a vet.  Rochlitz (2003) also attempted to determine what time of day/night most RTAs took place, but this analysis was inconclusive due to the large number of unknowns (47% of accidents).

Road traffic accidents are frequently a concern when an outdoor-access cat goes missing.  The results of this study help identify young (7 month – 2 years), male, mixed-breed cats as the highest risk group for RTAs.  Missing cats that fall into these categories should prompt a thorough search of the area around the home and immediate neighbor’s homes in case the missing cat has been involved in a RTA.  The results of this study also show that only 25% of cats involved in a RTA ended up dying.  These results may be somewhat biased since owners are probably less likely to bring a dead cat to the veterinarian, but they still show that many cats do survive being hit by a car.  This highlights the importance of thoroughly searching for the missing cat in case it is injured and hiding in silence.  More research needs to be conducted on the behavior of cats immediately after they have been in a RTA in order to improve our ability to find them.

To view a more detailed summary of Rochlitz’s (2003) two studies, follow this link to A Summary of a Study of Factors that may Predispose Domestic Cats to Road Traffic Accidents.

Literature Cited

Olsen, Tammy and Andrew Allen.  2001.  Causes of sudden and unexpected death in cats: a 10-year retrospective studyCanadian Veterinary Journal 42: 61-62.

Rochlitz, I., T. De Wit, and D.M. Broom.  2001.  A pilot study on the longevity and causes of death of cats in Britain.  Cheltenham, BSAVA Congress Clinical Research Abstracts. p.528.

Rochlitz, I.  2003.  Study of factors that may predispose domestic cats to road traffic accidents.  Part 1.  The Veterinary Record 153: 549-553 & Part 2: The Veterinary Record 153: 585-588.

100 thoughts on “Factors that May Predispose Cats to Road Traffic Accidents”

  1. My cat was killed outside my house four days ago. I found him the next morning immediately opposite our house. I believe that he had been killed instantly, as he had no time to move away from the road. It was incredibly traumatic to find him like this, as he was a much loved and cared for member of our family.

    He was six and a half years old and had been living with us for just over two years. He had never seemed interested in the road outside me property (at the end of our drive). This research has helped me understand the chances of this happening. He was just coming to an age where this was less likely to happen. We kept them in at night, but he died in winter, where he was still able to be out in the dark before I came home at 6.30pm. I would say that the road (a “B” road) is average traffic levels.

    I guess he was unlucky. We still have his brother. But I would like to eventually get a second cat, but I am obviously going to be very concerned that the same thing could happen again. The only extra thing I can do if I want them to be outdoor cats is get a light sensor cat flap that shuts them in when it gets dark. The is still a weakness with this strategy in that if the cats are out in the light and don’t come in when it gets dark, then they are still outside in the dark!

    We are still very devastated at our loss, as we had started to falsely assume that they were old enough to have some “roadsense” and keep away from the road.

    1. Tim so sorry for your loss,the same happened to me last year, my 6 year old cat was killed outside my home while at work overnight..Having no family or living relatives it has been the saddest thing to have happened in my life and I empathise with you completely..I haven’t been the same since..other than keeping them in at all times which is not ideal or natural, there is no solution if you happen to live near traffic..for most of us this is the case.

      I too wrongly assumed he had become road acclimatised,he was quick,alert and skittish with other people and noise..although I always feared the road could take him one day, and saw two cats on the roadside killed nearby I never believed it would happen to Ollie..it was awful burying him,as he was the equivalent of a little son to me..

      I wouldn’t recommend another cat if you live by a road,the statistics make bad reading..there’s a tragic inevitability..I would never get a cat at this house,it has a great big garden but a busy road runs past..my ex girlfriend bought Ollie for me at a rescue centre and in hindsight it was surprising he had 6 good years here with the traffic outside….though I have taken in a stray who luckily never leaves the house&garden and doesn’t cross the road; it depends on the individual cat realy,like people they are not all the same..but you could be letting yourself in for more heartbreak..and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the sadness I have felt and still feel this last year..take care..Karl

      1. hello,it Happened to me Sir.. i thot am the only one grieving over Cat my baby boy Tagger is like my own like a son to me.. until today at this moment while am writing this i couldnt help but shed tears i miss my Tagger so much he used to slept beside me when he was still around… that night i am really clueless he was with me.. he slept with me usually he will leave the room morning time but that night he wanted to go out thats actually a routine for almost 3 years i never thot i wud happen to my beloved cat until now i feel empty, numb and loss i cannot think i felt like i loss my child and it hard to cope i cried a river he was the best cat i have ever had, our village not prone to Rta for cats but why it happens to him he is a tuxedo male cat a very trained and handsome cat i ever had..i never thot anything could hurts this bad.. we had our routine how i cuddle and took good care of my lil one God i miss him so much.. i am sorry i cannot write very well here as i am shedding tears he was my room mates my companion my buddy my baby boy and i love him like my own child:(

        1. I just lost the best cat I have ever had. He webt missing 3 days ago after a strong thunderstorm. I found him today on the side of the road 4 houses down from mine. Everyone says that all cats should be indoor only. To me it seems unnatural, but I don’t know if I can suffer through this again. I live alone. Now I’m so depressed.

        2. I’m sorry everyone for your sad news. It’s terrible.i just lost my cat to a road accident. Just outside my house.cole was 8 and a half years old. my best friend. She was on her way across the road to come home. .I am devastated. I have never had my life disrupted in such a bad way. I feel awfull. I can’t believe she is gone and it’s day 72 since. Each day i wake up I feel like I’m entering a nightmare .i cant stop thinking about her. I’m lost .I’m empty. I’m gutted. I’m angry. I miss her so so so much.i can’t belive this happened. Changed my life.so upset

      2. Hi Karl. I am sorry about your loss. We loss our cat a few days ago. She was driven over by a careless driver. I know exactly what you are going through. They become our family and it is very difficult coping with the loss. Take care

  2. Wanted to thank you for this article and say to Tim that I understand how he feels. We lost our lovey boy today_ found him on the road outside the house this morning in a very bad way. The vet tried but couldnt save him-he was bleeding too badly.
    He was always outside at night and there is no way we could have stopped him from going out. He just loved the field too much. Im just so sad-cant imagine getting another cat in case the same thing happens again.

  3. Thank you for this article, it’s been very informative particularly about risks for young male cats. I sympathise with everybody who has been through losing a beloved pet and especially in a sudden RTA. I lost my cat 10 days ago, he was knocked over by a car just outside our house. He must have died instantly. He was only 14 months old, and we miss him desperately. His brother also got run over about 100 metres away from the house and on the same road when he was only 9 months old. I would say that we have average traffic. Our house is situated in the countryside and looks out onto a B road.
    They certainly loved being outside whatever the weather & would wail to be let outside in the mornings and were not happy when we closed the cat trap in the evening. A constant battle between us and them to show them that cars are dangerous. All the water spurts, the yelling if they crossed the road, didn’t help. We have an 8 month old female kitten, she seems to be more cautious, and keeps away from the road but again there is no guarantee. I don’t think we will get her a companion feline, it just hurts too much when we lose our loved and loving cats. We have friends who have cats and live near roads and they are still with them. It seems that we have just had no luck.

  4. Thank You, for your research and article, my advise is to always look
    for you cat in the morning if they don’t come home, and immediately
    look for them near your home or near the streets of your home. This has
    really helped me, lost my Lucky which was just 2 years old in 7/13, I
    think young cats are not that street smart as the older wiser cats that
    have learned.

  5. I just lost my Burmese cat 3 days ago. He was knocked and killed by a car. I know its part of life but death seems really in comprehensive when it comes close. The article was really interesting as we lost another cat, never found, a boy at 9 months and now recently he was just over 2 years our female is 4 years old and still with us. We do live by a busy road but its a bit tricky to get there from the garden at the back. I agree with alot of the other comments, you have to let cats out… I know our beloved boy loved it outside and he lived life to the full. We couldnt have kept him in. And I also thought he had developed some ‘ roadsense’ but i guess we never know what makes them run out on the road and from an evolutionary point of view cars are not behaving rationally and not something they can run away from. We got him back as he was chipped and a very nice lady took her time to go back and pick him up as she saw him by the road. He looked so cute no blood or marks which makes it harder for me to accept he is not with us anymore. Suppose time heals but feels empty and difficult at the moment.

  6. I found your article very interesting. I lost my two year old male, mixed breed, cat last week to a RTA. I have discovered that talking to people since who have lost cats this way that the cats have all been 1-3 years of age. Like the previous comment, a kind lady driver took him to a vet and as he was chipped the vet was able to trace me. The road he died on was a very busy A road over a quarter mile from my home across field land. I agree with previous comments, cats should be able to go outside and my cat loved the outside. I still miss him dreadfully and even though he had a short life I am sure he had a very happy one.

  7. Pingback: Risky Behaviors of Outdoor-Access Cats | Compassionate Pet Services

  8. I am so sorry for all the losses that have occurred. It is a painful lesson and reminder that cats need to be kept indoors or at least get special cat fencing so they can at least go outside. I was told by an SPCA lady that if you have an outdoor cat, it’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” they will get hit by a car.

  9. Lost our 18 month year old male cat in RTA yesterday – very close to the house in low speed, low-medium traffic area. He was chipped and a thoughtful witness took him to the vet – who called us to notify. Heartbreaking, but reading this article helped to reassure he wasn’t just very unlucky in being a victim so young. After we’ve finished mourning him, I guess we’ll face the big question of whether to get another cat – and whether to let it out (which both my wife and I both felt we kind of had to).

  10. My daughter and I have just lost our beautiful one year old boy. The last time we saw him was yesterday evening and the Dogs Home in our town contacted us today and told us they had him there, he was microchipped. Someone took him in after finding him dead outside the school right by our house after being hit by a car. He was just 1 year old, a black short hair (not a pedigree) We are devastated and I’m picking him up tomorrow to bring him home. I was always worrying about him, I worried about him more than our two female cats, one of 15 and one of 2. He just loved to be out, he would have hated to be kept in. Don’t know whether we will ever have another as am scared the same thing could happen again. Our older cat obviously knows how to keep herself safe and our younger one is terrified of traffic and keeps away from it. We are going to miss him so much…

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Its a difficult time for all of you. I was in the same situation a year and a half ago and it was awful! i havent gotten another cat yet and I dont think i ever will. Its heartbreaking when they disappear or/and something happens. I hope you can find him a little nice resting place in your garden perhaps if you got one. Take care

  11. My 16 month old (male, neutered) cat was hit by a car last night, but he was able to make his way home and my husband let him in. My husband does not have the best eyesight so he didn’t notice the damage from the car, so it wasn’t until this morning I found the lump on his head, missing fur and shredded claws. I am waiting to take him to the vet shortly and I just hope that he is ok now and that he stays away from the road from now on.

  12. We lost our Burmese boy, almost 3 years old, yesterday morning around 9.30 am. Right outside our house. It is a narrow single lane with a centre divider in a quiet neighbourhood, but it is an access road. You would think that the narrow road would stop cars from speeding around a blind bend, but I’ve watched cars do this as I’ve been gardening. He would have died instantly. He was in a bad way and I can’t get the image out of my head. I had only just started letting out both the Burmese brothers in recent weeks for longer periods. We’ve lived in this house almost 2 years. They were so happy outside and this was the problem I had. For a while I would go out with them and try to keep tabs on them for an hour, but over time they were getting more and more confident and I was less able to catch them to get them back inside. I knew it was risky to let them out and I feel utterly responsible. He was the sweetest and most tender little cat.

    It’s been made worse by the fact that we lost our old 15 year old lab a few months ago. I realise death does go hand in hand with pets,whether its age, sickness or accidents, but this is overwhelmingly hard right now. It leaves me with a decision to make which if any would care to reply I would appreciate your experience. Fortunately I still have one of the Burmese brothers. As I type this, he’s right under the covers in bed with me purring. Sensibly and without caving in, I must keep him inside from now to avoid another RTA – just because its happened once, doesn’t mean an RTA won’t happen again. I couldn’t cope with losing this one. The question is do I find him an older companion Burmese, or a new kitten? and then keep them both inside, or do I wait and at the end of the year, do what we were going to do anyway and get a new lab puppy and keep the Burmese boy inside. Both seems a bit too much to deal with. Thoughts?

    As you have all said before me, this article has really helped me understand. Essentially in my case, a 3 year old male Burmese was one of those in the most likely category to be in a RTA. But also to read of your own sad experiences makes me feel for you terribly. That moment of realisation of loss is indescribable.

    1. Hi

      Dear Lou, I am so sorry about your loss. I know how you feel. I lost my Burmese boy about a year ago. I still got my girl left and she was there when we buried Monty in the garden although I doubt she “understood” what was going on as I assume he had no scent at this point. It was a bit weird though as I tried stroking her when we were sat by his grave and she got “upset” as to say “hey let me grief alone”. After we left the grave she was sat by it on her own for quite some time… She was looking for him the first couple of days as his scent was still around but she stopped after about a week and settled in being the only cat. She is probably better alone as she is the runt of the litter. I wanted to get another Burmese, as I love the breed, but I could not handle it happening again so I have decided I can not get another cat. My girl doesn’t leave the garden and hardly doesn’t go out unless we are out. I could not keep a cat inside and as your Burmese, Monty, also loved being outside- it was impossible to keep him inside. He would even sleep outside and sat under the lean to when it was raining heavily to spike himself up to finally run out in to the pouring rain. I can’t really advice you on what next step to take …You will know when the time comes, but perhaps if the Burmese brother is left alone in the day time he will get bored and lonely. As you know the Burmese breed is a very intelligent one and can easily get frustrated and bored although so gentle and sweet. Maybe getting a dog, a rescue one that is used to cats perhaps?! Could you fence your garden off as to let him out without him escaping in to the road? I discovered Monty under cars around the corner from our house so many times and I was stupid enough to think he had grown some road sense but now I don’t think cats really have the ability to grow road sense. I once saw this black cat trying to cross a busy road in the middle of rush hour. She/he tried about 3 times (!!!) before she/he gave up. I couldn’t believe it ..finally She/he settled by the roadside and luckily nothing happened this time. If you are seriously thinking on getting another cat perhaps a younger one will keep him busy and entertained…Having that said older Burmese cats are suppose to be very lively and “kitten like” way up in adulthood. Good luck

    2. Lou
      please keep your cat inside, or get a special protectapuss type cage fitted to your garden. We have just lost our 20 month old boy to the road, and lost his sister to the same road 5 months previously. When we lost our little girl, I was devastated, and looked over our little boy with extra care. He was a real hunter, bringing in a steady stream of mice, sometimes 3 in one morning. He even brought them into the bedroom and crunched through them under the bed whilst we were asleep. I didn’t mind any of this, because the loss of his sister, confirmed how much I loved him. But after her death I slowly started to belief that he had become road savvy. He became more skittish as he was growing older, and I was counting the months for him to get past the 2 years when he would be statistically safer. And I convinced myself that it was kinder to him to live the life he wanted than to be cooped up inside. But now he is dead, probably killed instantly. And I am devastated again. Those two little baby kittens that I nurtured through their kitteny scrapes (fleas, reactions to injections, neutering, abscess), and cuddled like babies are no longer. And I feel I failed to keep them alive.
      If I could go back 5 months to when his sister died, I would have been more cautious than I actually was. At the time I kept him in, but he meowed to get out, and I grudgingly agreed with my partner to let him out. But if I could go back, I would put my foot down and he’d have had to have become an indoor cat.
      If your Burmese is lonely or bored, another “indoor” pet as a companion is the answer.

      1. We lost three beautiful cats in similar circumstances on the quiet country lane outside our home ALL BEFORE THE CATS REACHED THE AGE OF 2-3 YEARS.

        We have always had cats in the family home and the house and the family all missed the feline presence in the house and garden.

        We decided to go for an indoor cat and after researching suitable breeds purchased a Scottish Fold Variant Never heard of the Scottish fold breed before but ours has a grandparent of the Rag Doll breed and this connection make most affectionate and happy to be indoors cats.

        Early days yet with Petra only in the home for 3 months but she is a wonderful cat, so affectionate,playful and likes to be handed.

        The person we got the cat from is an expert/award winning,helpful and reliable breeder called Jeanette Fitzpatrick and her web page is http://www.emerisle-cats.co.uk

  13. Our family has always enjoyed cats as pets over the last 35 years. They have all lived to a good old age 15-18 years dying from natural causes. They have not been pedigree cats just plain but wonderful moggies and great pets as cats can be.

    However, the last three cats have sadly all been killed on the quiet country lane outside our house in the last 3 years all at a similar age of about two and a half years. Two of the cats were sisters and the third was related by sharing the same father. They were not full pedigree but had some Norwegian Forest in their blood line. The first two to be killed were hit by speeding cars and were found in the road and in a ditch by the side of the road respectively (Oscar and Cleo) they had no obvious physical injury apart from a small trickle of blood from the mouth.

    The last one to be killed was Fluff a few days ago, Sunday 19TH October 2014. Fluff would often follow me on a local walk in the fields surrounding our house this sometimes involved crossing the quiet road onto a track where she would often cross of her own accord, or even much to our consternation sit in the middle of the road.
    We had crossed the road and were proceeding along a small track when a black Labrador dog not on a lead attempted to go for Fluff who turned and ran straight into the path of an oncoming car. I thought she had avoided the car as she continued to run a further 20 metres into our neighbour’s garden. I followed and sadly found her behind a flower pot ….she had not avoided the car as I thought. I picked her up and she looked into my eyes for the last time, made a small meow and died within a few seconds. No obvious sign of injury apart from a small trickle of blood from her mouth and nose a few minutes later. My wife and I were very upset at her loss especially having lost her sister on the same road just a few months earlier.

    Our three beloved cats are all buried in the same area in our garden and the house seems very empty without them. Not sure at present if we will get anymore cats as the loss of three in 3 years all hit by vehicles is difficult to cope with.

    This web site, the sensitive accounts written concerning similar losses and relevant research has been beneficial in helping my wife and I cope with our loss.

  14. I lost my little cat Reggie yesterday. Our bond grew from him being found as an abandoned kitten under the hedge near my home, flea and tick-ridden, who I took in and reared at the time of my Dad passing. The mother had been trapped and he had got left behind. Along with his brother, who someone else rescued further up the road. Already owning another cat and a dog I anticipated nothing but trouble. I got everything but. Such a cat I have never known! Did nothing but talk at me and never left my side once I was home. Only ever going out at night to hunt, indoors all day sleeping. I was lucky to have him for a whole year. He was killed on a busy road, heading home. However, I knew that morning, the first time he wasn’t at the back door, that I had lost him. Turns out, he actually died at lunchtime, at the same spot he was originally found as a kitten. With his brother sat pining next to his body. I am lost without him.

  15. I buried my beautiful little Max 3 days ago. The moment we saw he wasn’t around for food in the morning we instantly knew.
    He was only 15 months old and we had to start letting him out earlier this year as he was becoming so frustrated being inside.
    Being let out was the best thing that ever happened to him. And you could see that clearly.
    So I don’t regret letting him out.
    He was my first cat and I didn’t think such a massive bond could be made.
    We found him by the road not far from the house. Somebody had wrapped him in a towel and placed him off the road, which I thought was very nice.
    I am absolutely gutted and have no idea whether I should get another cat now.
    I’ll never forget Max and I miss him so much.

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  17. My sympathy goes out to all who have lost their cats to the road. Cats are like family members and can have a HUGE affect on our lives.I just lost my cat of 6 years 2 days ago, and I am having a really difficult time coping with it. Makes me wonder why he would be attracted to the road when he had a big yard to play in. I keep asking myself what could I have done differently. I tried to keep him in at night, but he pitched a fit and tore furniture up, so I made the decision to let him out. I guess that’s the flip side to owning one. I will have to reconsider whether owning one in the future under the same circumstances is worth the risk. This article and the comments have been very informative and helpful to me in helping me cope. Again, my condolences to all of the owners who have lost pets from the road. I know what you have been through.

  18. Hi, we lost our 3 year old girl, Autumn, on Wed(3 days ago). We just moved into our new place 7 weeks ago. She loved our beautiful garden but also loved going across the road. The day she died I was off work and we played together. I watched her rolling all over the drive and rubbing her tummy on the gravel. 10mins before she died I was watering the garden, I saw her run across the road, I then went out the back, 10 min later saw the neighbour walk up the drive to my hubby and I knew straight away. My hubby picked her up from across our fairly busy road, their was only a bit of blood by her mouth, I asked my hubby if he was sure she was dead. The worst part was watching my childrens hearts break as we told them the news, and hearing them crying all night. They want another cat, I don’t know if my heart can handle their pain (and my own) again. I am not allowing myself to say “why didn’t you get her from across the road” because 1. she would have probably just run off and 2. by laying that guilt onto myself what good can come from that. Thanks for listening, reading your stories has helped. God Bless all our furry pet friends at Rainbow Bridge

  19. I can empathise with all the families who have lost a beloved pet to a RTA. Thank you for this informative article – I was searching for something that would help me deal with my beautiful four year old cat’s RTA death three days ago. I have had female cats live until 17 and 18 years of age, but even the neutered boys take so many risks and die young. The worst part was that it happened at night and no one moved him off the road. When I found him at 6 am he had been mutilated and the crows were ripping him apart. I am still in shock, can’t get that gruesome image out of my head… so upsetting.
    My gentle boy is now ‘resting’ peacefully within mother nature’s womb under his favourite tree. RIP little one!

    1. Dear Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.

      I have a 4 and a half year old, neutered male, he is an indoors cat (as we live in a center of a busy city, on a 3d floor in a building. So there was never even an option of letting him out. But I always worry that he is perhaps missing out, on the real “cat’s life”… which makes me sad, although he is very much adored indoor cat, who gets a lot of love and attention from the entire family. And we have a balcony that is secured with a net, so that he can enjoy the fresh air without being in danger of falling down. So I’m grateful for that.

      My thoughts are with you dear Paula… Please try to find comfort in knowing he had a good life and was very much loved… Bless you all, my dear cat-lovers 🙂

  20. We lost our beautiful boy yesterday to a RTA , he was only 3 years and 8 months old, He hadnt come in for his breakfast yesterday, and I had to go to work, and before I went in I went over the muddy fields that back onto our house and kept calling him, I had a terrible gut feeling that I would never see him again, and I blame myself as I think he may have heard me and come running across the road when it happened. He had gone missing last year for 34 days but came home and we were over the moon when he returned. Anyway yesterday whilst I was at lunch I noticed on my phone that the vet had rung me twice (my phone was in my locker at work) I got through and they told me the bad news. I went to collect him and was told that he had been hit by a car, but driver hadnt stopped but the driver behind had brought him to the vet, where he was identified. he was in one piece and looked peaceful. I cant stop crying and feel like part of me died with him. We bury him today, in our garden and Im dreading that. We loved him so much and always will

  21. Our beautiful beautiful boy was killed by a car 4 days ago. He was only 17 months old and was the apple of our eye. He was a rescue kitten and we were smitten by him from the moment we first met him. He was a short hair & jet black and simply loved to be outdoors and go playing & hunting in the nearby fields and wooded areas. We let him out as usual in the early evening but he didn’t come home. We spent the night looking for him and were fearing the worst when he hadn’t returned by the next morning. My wife posted a message on Facebook and shortly afterwards a lady who lived nearby contacted us to say that she had found a young cat matching his description at the side of the road earlier that morning. It was our boy. It looked like he had been killed some hours earlier about half a mile from home on a busy road that separates a wooded area. I can only think he was crossing and maybe playing/hunting at the time. Thankfully it looked like he was killed quickly and didn’t suffer too much. The lady who found him was a cat owner and took him home. We were so grateful to her for taking care of him. He has gone now and we are devastated. My heart is broken. He was such a boisterous wee boy. He loved the outdoors and my only consolation is that he went doing what he loved to do. We will always miss him and never forget him. RIP my beautiful boy.

  22. I just wanted to offer my sympathy to everyone who has lost their cat. I lost a beautiful tabby (through illness) so I know the pain this causes. I echo the suggestion of cat proof fencing as a sensible compromise – there are options to purchase these online, or you can get videos online of DIY fencing. I got mine installed and after a few adjustments, this seems to work perfectly. I don’t think it’s fair to keep cats completely indoors – they just don’t get the same level of stimulation as homes are a very monotonous environment, without the same variety of smells and sounds, not to mention the lack of fresh air.

    It’s probably easier to keep the cat restricted in this way, if you get a kitten/indoor cat that has never had the option of roaming freely. It also has the advantage of keeping other cats at bay, so avoiding fights with your cat or bullying.

    I’d be interested to hear others’ views on whether outdoor containment works for them.

  23. Well, I’ve been very teary eyed reading all these stories. I’ve had cats for nearly 30 years and there is just so much joy and sadness. Dell and Jack were lost and never returned. Jake and Banjo (son of my cat Kizzy) died in an RTA in a quiet culdasack where I used to live. Benjamin (Burmese/Persian cross) died age 6 after myself and my husband ran over him ourselves, not knowing he was asleep under the car. I’ve lived with the memory for around 20 years. Peter, our Burmese, died in a RTA age around 3, after fighting off feline infectious peritonitis. Kizzy (mum of Banjo) and originally purchased in a pet shop, died age 10 from RTA after we moved house with her and she obviously had less knowledge of the new road, Little black Ella, who loved playing in the sink, was spread about the road by whoever hit her only to be seen first by my little boy, returning from school on the school bus, distraught. Tabitha died on good Friday 2005 age 15 from kidney failure. Moët died RTA summer 2006 – a lovely sunny Sunday morning. She was a rescue tortie we had had for just a year along with her black brother Hobbs. We were living in a rental cottage, whilst our house was getting renovated, well back from the road, down a lane, surrounded by fields and shrub. A passer by found her and brought her to us – her brother Hobbs wandered off after seeing her but returned the next day. Jasmine, from a local farm, died the day before Fathers Day 2013 (buried Fathers Day) age 14 after 24 hrs of, on and off, fits – 8 months earlier she had survived what we believe was a serious stroke that initially left her blind but she had made an almost full recovery. She had also had her hip joint removed a few years earlier from what was believed to have been either a run in with a vehicle or a fall from a tree. So that left Hobbs and Truffle. Hobbs – a previously abused rescue whom we’ve had since 2005 – a real country lad who loves catching grey squirrels and over populated rabbits – now suffering a bit from arthritis, probably from his abuse as a kitten and Truffle, our 3 year old Tortie, born on a nearby farm and believed to be related to Jasmine. Truffle had a litter of 5 kittens last May (nurtured since) and we found fabulous homes for 4 with friends and colleagues who give us regular updates of Cassidy, Murphy, Hugo and truffle jnr. The star of the show we kept for ourselves – little ginger Toulouse – my wee boy, my baby. We’ve been keeping him in at night and whilst we are at work but on Friday night we just couldn’t get him in. He was too busy having high jinks with uncle Hobbs. Yesterday morning there was no sign. We checked the road to the front and side (as you do) but nothing, thankfully, but then when we wandered a little further, there he was – lying on the road – not far on to the road but enough. Killed out right we believe. He hadn’t accessed the road from right outside the house, he had crossed tree filled scrub and walked a full length of tarmac track to get there. We just can’t protect them from everything, he had farm cat in his blood not house cat. I cannot describe my feelings, despite previous losses – he was only 11 months old, my wee fella, my shadow, my smile. We buried him under his favourite tree after, mum Truffle said her goodbyes. Today my daughter had her belated Easter egg hunt, put off through bad weather, out on the usual patch of scrub. Whilst Toulouse was there, under his tree among the daffodils, I had looked forward to him taking part in the hiding and finding with his wee ginger striped tail, as always, in the air but it wasn’t to be. My husband hid the eggs for the first time this year as I’ve had all my fun knocked out of me. Will I continue to have cats – probably. Will they continue to die from RTA, I hope not but high chance – we had been lucky for the last 10 years. Will they continue to die from illness and old age – definitely. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this site. People who love cats with all their heart are special people. I have never forgotten any of my cats and as for Toulouse, for now, I am empty. I miss him so so much.

  24. Reading all of this, is so utterly devastating and I really do feel for all of you. I completely understand, we all love our babies so much, they are a part of our family and nothing ever replaces them and we are left feeling empty. My cat Milo was like my baby and I love her so much. I miss her every day and cry more than I ever have . She was just over a year old and involved in a RTA a month ago. My road isnt busy at all, but guess I wont ever really know how it happened. She went out about 9pm and didnt come back in , which was normal. I knew something was wrong the next morning as she always woke me up without fail at 6am. I went to find her in the morning and saw something lying in the road round the corner from my house. When I got closer I realised it was Milo. It wasn’t a nice sight but I still thought I could save her but she was frozen stiff so then I knew she was gone. I still cant forget the image and how she felt , it wasnt my Milo. I am thankful to have found her though, rather than never knowing what happened to her. She used to sleep all day and go out at night to hunt and do what cats do. I tried to keep her in to keep her safe from everything but she wasnt happy and was showing signs of distress. I blamed myself when it first happened. I guess ive now learnt that we cant protect them from everything, as with all people we love in our lives. We had to let her live and be happy and she was happiest outside in all weather . She was always an ultra adventurous kitten, so cheeky and funny. It is better to have a short life , lived happily then a long unhappy one. I now realise it wasn’t my fault and you cant turn back time , there is nothing i could have done or can do now. she would have known how much we loved her and doted on her and we gave her a happy home as Im sure all of you did with your own babies. We have to forgive ourselves, we must remember times when we were mad at them for eating our lunch or scratching the furniture, and how they would still give us unconditional love and forgive us. They would want us to be happy and wouldnt blame us. We shouldnt punish ourselves for loving too much and giving our all. I will get another cat one day as I refuse to deny myself the love and joy that cats bring for fear of losing them. I wouldnt do that wiith a human so why with a cat. Hope you all find healing and learn to deal with the grief of losing your treasured fur-angels. Milo is always with me just in a different way.

  25. I’m so glad I’m stumbled upon this article as Ive just had something very similar happen to me. Actually it’s happened to me not even 2 hours ago. Our sweet boy of almost 4 years has been hit on our busy street after living in this home of a little over a year. I started researching because I just didn’t understand why he would have gotten hit. He was one of the most skiddish cats and if he ever heard a car start up or coming towards him he would immediately move. I am at a loss of words… And I had just taken him to the vet just yesterday…he had all his shots and an included steroid shot for a skin problem he had been having…it almost makes me wonder if all of those together somehow made him not think right…I don’t understand it.l. He was one of our three family pets which included two dogs. I haven’t told my two small children yet because I’m just not sure how. I had to keep asking my husband Was he sure it was him.. I am saddened for every one of you and thank each and every one of you for sharing your story. It has taught me how common of a problem this seems to be. I had a gut feeling just this morning that maybe he was sick. He just wasn’t as active as he normally was so I immediately associated that with the shots. It makes it hurt even worse not fully understanding the situation.

  26. I am so thankful I have stumbled across this article, I have had something similar happen to me today and I feel the need to share in order to get over the devastation!?!! I have two tabbys both under the age of 5 – almost identical (non related) and adore each other. Fed them both yesterday morning and went to work no problems. They are both normally waiting for me when I’m back for their tea but tabby no.2 wasn’t there – really odd. Thought I’d wait till the morning to start worrying, I knew something had happened I could feel it in my gut. You hear of cats going missing for 30 days at a time and hope it’s you but I knew he had gone and his brother knew something g too, it was almost as if he was trying to tell me but couldn’t. Rang the vets first thing this morning and received the bad news, Charley had been bought in yesterday by a lady who saw the accident and picked him up. 🙁 went into identify him today and he wasn’t in a good way, the vets didn’t let me see his face, I imagine he had a head/neck injury. It was on a semi busy main road not far at all from the house and around school time. I am absolutely hysterical. I just hope and pray it was quick and he didn’t feel a thing. He was a huge part of our family and his brother will miss him so much. Really thankful to the lady that brought him in and even rang her this afternoon to thank her from the bottom of my heart, a very brave thing to do that I would struggle to do myself. Thanks for letting me share.

  27. Therese Hillebrandt

    If my cat has been knocked down and killed were do they end up once being removed? My cats been missing for 5 days?

    1. In the US, they are generally picked up by Animal Control or the Department of Public Works (they handle road maintenance and such). Do you have something similar to this in your area (I’m assuming the UK based on your email)?

    2. I rang to the local vets – are they chipped to you? Normally if they are found Alive or dead they will ring you if your details are correct. What have you tried? They may be in a garage or got into the back of a car etc xx

  28. I haven’t lost a pet to a RTA, but these stories have become a reality check for me. Since I’ve just adopted a cool cat a couple months ago, he loves to go outside daily between 1-3 hours. I’ve monitored him much of the time, because I was previously aware of the dangers of vehicles to cats. And I got my first test last night when I was with him and he wandered right into a driveway with a car backing slowly out. As I lost sight of exactly where he was, I was thinking this might already be the end, but he didn’t go into the path of the car, but stayed clear, and boy was I glad. I can’t explain this. And even from an evolutionary standpoint, one would think that if any animal the size of a domestic cat were to hear & see the roar and speed of an approaching vehicle, it would be as if a buffalo were charging, and it would simply get out of the way, but apparently some don’t have that sense to do so, as it also happens to deer, raccoons, dogs, squirrels etc…… Even me, with some knowledge in animal behavior, I can’t explain this away. But, the trick I pull with my cat is I do not let him out during the day, cause there is 1000x more traffic. I only let him out between midnight – 3:00 am when there are virtually no cars and I do live in a quiet bedroom community. After reading some of these stories I think I will monitor him as best as I can, when he goes out. And my condolences to anyone who has lost a beloved pet to an RTA, I can imagine it must be difficult, but you should get a kindness mark for letting your pets have the chance to explore the great outdoors and fulfill their desires in that way. Now that I think of it, I don’t think any outdoor animal has a very high life expectancy except for tortoises and a few others. It just comes with the territory, so don’t feel too ashamed.

  29. On 16/11/15 went to have my black and white British short hair Eric micro chipped, at this point he was 3. Hist twin brother, tabby British Short hair Freddie was a doorstep cat, he would wander to everyone’s house get food and only come back home every few weeks, he was in good health and happy with is out door life, indoors he was moody and always crying to get out, (As he did not really like the dog). we had 4 cats Freddie and Eric, Carrie and smudge who we had just took in 6 weeks previous to give her a good last few weeks of life, she was 15 and starting to waste away but was still happy and content.
    After Eric had been micro chipped, as he was a bit older than when they are normal done, he was a bit tender around the area of the micro chip so i did try to keep him in as long a i could so that he didn’t get worse. however on the night of the 18th Eric was so desperate to go out, he liked t go to the toilet outside so i let him , closed the window and walked away. Eric had a reflective collar on and liked to go out some nights to get me a present so i would never always worry if he was out all night.
    however when he did not come back the next morning i was a bit concerned so i began shouting more for him and looking in the gardens. he did not come back. i kept shouting for him and handing out leaflets for people to look for him. i had posted many wanted leaflets through people doors and stuff on social media, forums and veterinary practices had been called. i had said that he was micro chipped and gave them all his description.
    later that week as i was beyond heartbroken that he had still not come back,no one had seen him and he hadn’t been taken to the vets, my recent adoption, Smudge, had passed away in the night of the 26th, we had had her for 6 weeks and hopefully give her the ending she had most deeply wanted.
    after more looking and searching fr Eric i had begin to look deeper onto the social media pages of veterinary practices near where we live and where i knew he wandered, when i came upon a post about a black and white cat that had been brought in. i thought nothing of him being her and so was over joyed that i had found him. so i called my mam to tell her that i knew where he was and told her to ring them, she rang them and she didn’t call me back so i began hounding her with messages and calls to asked where he was and when we could get hi, back. she then eventually answered the 57th call and i, with so much happiness in my voice asked when we would get hi back. she was hesitat to reply and said that we werent, i felt my face dropped and asked what was wrong with him, if he had been hurt. she told me that he had been ran over and was in cold storage, we could go and identify him the next morning.

    i had just been told that my best friend, baby had been in cold storage for 10 days, me completely unaware that he was acruall dead.
    the next day we went to identify him. for a minute when i had woken up i forgot, i forgot that the most impotant thing in my life had been taken away from me.
    we walked into the consulting room and the lovely veterinary nurse brought him through, he looked so small.
    he was covered in blood, he was no longer black and white, but black and red. his face was hidden by his paw. i recognised that pose, the way he slept next to me, purring.
    then she asked if i knew of any other missing cats around the area as one was found in the same place but brought in the next day.
    all we could cay was “Freddie” …
    she brought the other cat through. it was Freddie.
    they lay next to each other wrapped in blankets.
    then she told us that they had been ran over by the same car, they were chasing each other.

    3 cats in one week.

    19/11/15 – Eric
    20/11/15 – Freddie
    26/11/15 – Smudge

    never forgotten and always with me.

  30. I have long believed as a former car driver and cat lover, that there is a vision issue with cats being killed on the road. It seems as if cats cannot see in pitch black nor well in dawn, dusk, bad weather light. It is almost as if they need the car headlights to see the road and run right in front of them, not having any understanding of the risk. A comment from my son was to do with no data on haw many cross the road successfully.

    Three experiences in Bermuda:
    One of my grey cats (female and seven years so did not fit the profile) was chased into the road in front of a car which was unable to stop but the car owner picked her up and took her to the vet but she was unable to be saved. Although she was micro-chipped, there was no record on her vet file or at Animal Control. After a month of posting by me, someone bravely called me and told me what had happened.

    One of my calicos who was female and fourteen years was found in the road in an evening, possibly also chased as never seen in road before. Did not know immediately due to service problems with my phone. Her micro-chip was recorded as her sister’s but that was just a transpostion.

    My tortie was in my driveway and not visible to me from my right hand driver’s seat in my Atos – viewing very bad – and was caught on my bumper. Despite looking everywhere for her, she was not found until a week later when crawled into my garden with a broken jaw.

    So, some messages, make sure your pets micro-chips are correctly recorded! Walk around the car before driving off! Never give up hope of an answer as someone often knows exactly what happened. Give them a way of contacting you anonymously as they can be afraid of your response to the truth.

    RIP to all the animals who have passed through our lives and please support neutering.

    1. One factor which seems to have been left out this is discussion is the risk factor posed by the sheer numbers of cars on our roads. It goes without saying that the more cars on the roads, the more cats, people, wild animals and even insects will be killed or injured by them. I appreciate that people do not always have alternatives to driving, but is it nonetheless an unfortunate consequence of cars being on the roads. If we all try to limit car use, by using alternatives where they are available, car sharing, and using other means of transport for short journeys then surely the risks posed to animals will decrease. Just a thought.

  31. Dear sir we had aware cat hit and killed this Friday 26/05/17 the cat substated very injuries some thing needs to be done with the speed of the cars that comes through Nasbey village we have lots are love cat by a speeding driver which has left my parents very upset and this has effected my parents seening the cat with such bad injuries as someone did not just hit the cat once but then must have driven over the cat for the second time because his stomach had broken open and all his in side where all over the road and there was blood all over the road no one has come forward how hit aware cat which I am finding hard take on board the someone?can hit a cat head on and drive over it with out stopping Kind Regards Guy Reynolds

  32. This has calmed me somewhat, I live in a pleasent area but there is a road outside where cars park all along one side. This means cars have to flash you out and as a courtesy people get a move on. Fast cars, parked cars, and my third cat to leave me was knocked over on Saturday and although she made it to the vets, she died on the vets table as she has brain damage. I am so sad, we got a girl this time to try to stop the ‘roaming’ all my cats have been killed in daylight. I used to prefer them being out at night as there was less traffic. They’d both come home for breakfast bar the odd late arrival. Then spend all day sleeping indoors… I now have a sad cat who is looking for her playmate, I haven’t stopped crying, I can’t keep the one I have indoors as she is an outdoor cat, if I get another one to keep her company (and for me ) I am saddended that the thought I am just bringing these amazing souls into my life to have theirs snuffed out. I adore my cats, I just don’t know what to do!

  33. Yeah me too.
    Im so freakin sad. I feel as though i failed him. Weve been indoors for 8 yrs. We finally made progress and bought a house. I felt hes been wanting out for the last 3 yrs. Always meowing at the door.
    Its only been a year and i felt that he would be fine. I live on a street not busy at all but i did worry about the drivers here. Very irresponsable an drive way to fast for these little streets. I also trusted his biological abilities such as night vision and rapid reaction time.
    I would have done the same and dealt with his request to leave at night. We jst had a baby so sleep was scarse, it was hard not letting him out to get that unce of sleep. I regret not understanding or trysting my concerns for him.
    I would like another companion but i feel that i would be betraying him foe being careful with another. He deserved my attention and i just couldnt stay awake. I had a bad transition…. we both did. I raised him not caring much for him at first but soon became buds and a roommate type relationship. There was much for me to learn but i trusted the sentaments of others who have less empathy for these creatures. There are not just animals. He was my son and best friend.?

  34. I found our Cat yesterday ,she was missing for two nights . My partner had his last cat Kitty for 18 years he was a indoor cat , I never thought are cat would be happy inside only, she was a black cat close to nine months, I realized when she wasn’t coming home it was a full moon! I thought maybe she was having a fun night, I waited up on the couch. She tried to make it back but was hit. Miss you beautiful baby girl!?

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  37. Perhaps the increase in RTA cats wearing reflective collars is due to cats that are more at risk (specifically ones which spend more time outdoors) are more likely to have reflective collars as an effort made by owners to prevent RTA incidents. Coupled with the fact that visibility doesn’t seem to be a significant factor (meaning the collar is mostly ineffective) and this seems like a probable explanation.

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