New research from the RVC has revealed that young, male, crossbred cats are at greater risk of being hit by a car, begging the question as to why they tried to cross the road in the first place.

The study, which was carried out by the VetCompass programme at the RVC, in partnership with Vets Now, also found that cats are most likely to be involved in a traffic accident in the autumn. 

1,407 cat road traffic accident cases that attended Vets Now clinics across the UK between December 2011 and February 2014 were analysed, with researchers finding: 

  • Younger cats, aged six months to six years, are at the greatest risk of road traffic accidents.

  • Male cats are 1.3 times more at risk of road traffic accidents than female cats. 

  • Crossbred cats are 1.9 times more at risk of road traffic accidents compared to purebred cats.

  • Cats are more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident in the autumn. However, they are less at risk in winter as compared to spring.

  • Those cats that present with abdominal or spinal injuries are more likely to die, as are those that present with an increasing count of injuries.

  • The 1,407 cats that were admitted after being hit by a car represented 4.2% of all cats treated at emergency veterinary clinics (n=22,586) during the period. 

RVC veterinary epidemiologist and VetCompass researcher Dr Dan O’Neill said: "One of the scariest times for any cat-owner is when they first start to let their cat go outside unattended. Owners of younger, and especially male, cats need to be especially vigilant. These results help owners to understand the true risks and therefore assist these owners to make the best decisions about if and how they let their cats go outside."

Dr Amanda Boag, Clinical Director of Vets Now, said: "We are very proud to have worked with VetCompass to ensure this important information about risks to our pet cats is made available to vets and the public. Working with our partners such as the RVC, we are committed to ensuring our large clinical database is used to help advance veterinary knowledge and understanding of emergency and critical care practice."

The full paper entitled 'Epidemiology of Road Traffic Accidents in Cats attending emergency-care practices in the UK' is published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice.