It is every cat owners biggest fear, their beloved pet being hit by a car and killed or being seriously injured. The problem is that cats which are allowed outside will always be at risk from being run over, no matter how many precautions the owner takes.
In most cases if the cat is injured it will run away and hide and it could be hours or days before it is found. Sometimes if the cat does make it home, it may not be immediately obvious that it has been involved in an accident.
How can you tell if your cat has been hit by a car?
There are a number of signs to look out for which would suggest your cat has been hit by a car:
It may be wet, muddy or have motor oil on its coat
Grazes on the skin or bald patches
It may have frayed or broken claws if they were exposed when the cat landed after being hit
Limping or poor use of its back legs
What should you do?
If you suspect your cat has been hit by a car then you must first of all try and get it to your local vet; you may need to call an out of hours number if it is during the night. If you are not able to make contact with the vet you should wrap your cat up in a towel or blanket to keep it warm and help prevent shock until you can get through to your vet at a later time.
If there are any obvious broken bones try and minimise the movement to stop the injury becoming any worse. Take your cat to the vet as soon as you can as the sooner it is seen the better its chances of a swift and full recovery.
Even if your cat seems to have only minor injuries it is always recommended to take them to the vet as soon as you can. Internal injuries cannot be seen and can quickly cause the cats condition to deteriorate.
How can I prevent my cat being hit by a car?
Unfortunately, a cat which is allowed outdoors is always going to be at risk of being hit. It is more likely to happen in the first two years of the cat’s life; after this time cats are more cautious of things around them.
You should have your cat neutered as a neutered cat is less likely to wander too far from home. Put a reflective collar on the cat, but always make sure it is a quick release collar to prevent your cat getting caught on it.
Make sure your cat is microchipped and if possible put a tag with your details on its collar. Make sure your cat flap does not open straight onto the street to prevent your cat rushing straight out into the road.
Finally, check under your car before you use it as cats do like to shelter under cars, especially ones with warm engines that have recently been used.
Remember that your cat is an adventurous explorer who likes to patrol its territory. By taking preventative measures and being ready should the worst happen, you can minimise the risk of him being hit and injured by a car.