Guernsey Press

Hundreds of cats killed each year on our roads

MORE than 200 cats are being hit by vehicles each year, with nearly all dying before help arrives.

Guernsey Animal Aid's Sue Vidamour. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31914347)

With about 10,000 pet felines in the island, that means about one in 50 cats will be involved in a road accident in a given year.

The figures have been revealed as charity Animal Aid has called for drivers to slow down.

It has reported seeing a rise in the number of cats being hit by cars, and founder Sue Vidamour is reminding islanders to take due care and consideration.

‘A pet cat is part of the family and when they are killed or maimed as the result of being hit by a car, it is a terrible emotional blow to their owners,’ she said.

‘We’ve seen some truly awful sights as the result of cars hitting cats, which is why we’re appealing for all drivers to be alert while behind the wheel.’

The GSPCA is called to more than 200 cases a year where cats have been hit on the roads, and it estimated that 80% to 90% are dead when staff arrive.

Manager Steve Byrne recalled a night shift where he was called to five cats which had been hit by a car and were dead on arrival.

‘Very few cats make it to the vet, and most incidents are fatal or the cats are severely injured,’ he said.

‘It’s very sad, and not intentional as cats will run out of hedgerows and into the road.’

Road traffic accidents involving cats happen more often in winter.

Mr Byrne said that cats are more likely to be hit in winding lanes than on the main roads.

‘It’s very emotional for many people, there is usually a very upset individual in the vehicle, the owners are naturally upset that their pet has been injured and it’s emotional for the GSPCA staff who attend as well,’ he said.

‘We are here to help and we have our 24-hour emergency service, but the main thing is getting the cat to the vet as soon as possible, whether that be by us or whoever finds it.

‘This is a problem we highlight annually and it is increasing, we are looking forward to spring when it usually slightly decreases.’

Mrs Vidamour said that the increase in cat strikes was due a combination of more cars on the roads and more cats in the island.

The speed of the car does not impact the extent of the injuries, but she has recommended driving at 25mph or less as it is easier to slow down.

Also to be vigilant of movement from the side of the road.

‘An awful lot of missing cats are never found, and we think it’s because they get hit and then run off to hide and die,’ she said.

‘Even one cat is too many, but it’s other wildlife as well.’