Drivers could be fined £1,000 if they accidentally hit a cat and fail to inform the police, under a proposed new law.
Experts from LeaseCar.uk are supporting a campaign for the law to be changed to give cats the same rights as many other animals when it comes to road traffic accidents.
Currently, drivers must stop and inform police if they hit dogs, horses, cattle, pigs, goats and sheep – but not cats.
Many cat owners are left wondering what’s happened to their beloved pets if they’ve been run over by a driver, as it’s not a legal requirement to go to the police or track down the owner.
Recently one pet owner who lost her cat to a hit-and-run incident reached 100,000 signatures on a petition to change the law and was debated in parliament, but there are no current plans to make it an offence.
A spokesman said cats deserved the same protection in law as dogs and other pets and called on the government to show compassion to their devoted owners.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “We’re calling for changes to be made to the law to make it a legal requirement for motorists to report to police if they’ve run over a cat.
“Along with this change, we believe it’s right to introduce a fine of up to £1,000 for any motorists who don’t comply and simply leave a cat on the roadside without reporting the incident.
“It was shocking to discover that it’s not a legal requirement for motorists to report whether they’ve run over cats, but it was even more surprising that the law covers various animals but excludes one of the most popular pets in Britain.
“It’s not uncommon to see a poster for a missing cat on a lamp post or in a shop window and in many cases, the missing pet will have been the victim of a road accident but as the law stands there’s no requirement for the owner to even be informed.
“It’s heartbreaking to lose a cat, for many they’re a member of the family, which is why we want to support the change in the law to show their importance.
“It simply isn’t right that cat owners are left in this terrible vacuum of grief when their beloved pet disappears without warning.
“The fact that anyone would want to leave a defenceless animal on the side of the road is appalling and not having a law in place can make people assume it’s fine for this to continue.
“It’s not fair to our beloved pets to have the law unchanged, we want no cat to be left behind injured or dead at the side of the road.”
For more information on cat safety and other motoring issues please visit: https://leasecar.uk/blog/keeping-your-cat-safe-in-the-car/