Include cats in the Road Traffic Act

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According to statistics, nearly 1 in 2 UK households own a pet of some kind. Out of the 45% of the population who owns a pet, dogs make up 26% of that percentage, with cats taking second place with 18%. 

For those of us in that 45%, one of the worst things that can happen is to lose our furry friend unexpectedly, and especially to have something happen and never find out where they went, or what happened. Thankfully, for owners of certain animals, a person is legally required to report an accident that injures or kills any of the following:

  • Dogs
  • Cattle
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Pigs
  • Horses, mules and donkeys

However, despite being the nations second most popular household pet, cats are not protected. Cats can be abandoned at the scene of an accident, with no repercussions for the driver. While no consequences are given to people who openly and honestly report the road death of any of the listed animals, reporting means that the owner can be informed and aren't left wondering and searching. 

On the 24th of September 2018, I was left wondering and searching. I found my 1 year old cat, Milk, who was barely more than a kitten, sitting on the side of the road cold and stiff. She had been hit earlier in the day and left there. Someone had taken her collar off to make her look like a stray. If I hadn't found her, she would have been collected and put in with other dead "strays", a reality which happens far too frequently. This little cat was a huge part of my life, and my family's life. She was beautiful and she was loved, but now she was gone, and had been left alone in the cold for me to find. That is an image that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

This was not, and is not okay. No animal should be left like Milk was. Not a dog, not a cow, and not a cat. They are as important as any other animal, and the consequences should be exactly the same. Cats are loved, and cherished and part of our families, just like any other animal.

If cats were added to Road Traffic Act, people who don't report can face the deserved consequences, and more cats would be reported. More families will not have to wonder and worry, and more people will not have to face finding them like that themselves. 

They deserve better. They deserve to be treated like any other animal.