HomeHuman to cat relationshipAre the British too accepting of cats being run over?


Are the British too accepting of cats being run over? — 27 Comments

  1. People never declaw in the UK? That’s impressive. I never knew that. I refuse to declaw and mine do just fine indoors. They strictly use cat towers and scratching posts provided to them to scratch at and scent mark with their paws.
    I also like having a large outdoor covered enclosure to allow the cats a little freedom to get out and smell the air, lie in the sun and run about chasing critters and such. In my area, if cats are allowed to run free outside of a safe enclosure they are open to various types of danger… not just vehicles but also exposure to possible injury from cat fights or male toms, bites from venomous reptiles, injury or death from fox, bobcat, dogs, raccoon, coyotes and hawks.

    • Hi Debra, our vets would never declaw cats even before it was banned here, I worked for vets and only once were we asked about it, the client was told she wouldn’t find a vet in the entire UK willing to perform such cruel surgery.
      Your enclosure sounds ideal, we are lucky not to have the dangerous wild animals here that you have there and personally we are lucky to live in a safe cat friendly place. We’ve had cats for over 40 years and they have all enjoyed their freedom. Our present two are 13 years old and are our sun, moon and stars 🙂

      • True Michael. Even people here who don’t particularly like cats are shocked and horrified when they hear declawing happens in the USA and Canada and that’s before they know it isn’t ‘only’ the claw but the entire toe end.

          • Yes 6 years ago around now, just before Christmas, Babz and I came along guns a blazing to educate about the cruelty of declawing and I started making posters for PoC.

  2. If we didn’t live where it was as safe as we can make it and as cat friendly then we wouldn’t have cats, it’s as simple as that.
    Cats still have wildness in them and although they can and do adjust to living strictly indoors, they miss out on quality of life.
    Unsafe outside? Then make some sort of enclosure, that’s better than nothing! Cats like to feel the sun on their backs, roll in the grass, chase rodents, birds and butterflies, humans have deprived them of their birthright.
    It’s never been a case of opening the door for ours, out they go, forget about them.
    All our cats over 40 years have stayed inside until after vaccinations and neutering and then we have taken them first into the garden, then a bit further, going out and staying out there with them. We’ve always kept them in if no one was going to be home and after dark and from being kittens they have accepted that. We make our home and garden a happy cat friendly place so they don’t go far away and every time they come in they get a huge welcome.
    It’s not that people here don’t care what happens to their cats outside, it’s that we want them to have a happy life with quality of life.
    Don’t forget that declawing began in the USA when people started keeping cats indoors…..safe yes, living long lives? maybe but at what cost? Cats have never been declawed here in the UK! Maybe some ‘Brits lack awareness and sensitivity’ but they sure know that declawing (even without knowing it’s not ‘just’ the claws but amputation of the toe ends) is wrong!
    A long life looking out of the window but unable to participate or a life lived to the full despite its risks…..I know which I’d choose if I was a cat.

  3. I am so fortunate to live in the country on a dirt road .I let my kitties out when they want out and I have 3 that never want out and the ones that do dont stay long and if the weather is bad they never want out.My neighbor has never seen mine at her house and I have never seen hers at my house.My kitties are spoiled and so are hers ,so why should they want to leave home?

      • So, you have a different perspective about strictly indoor cats now?
        Do you have a better understanding of why Americans keep such a lock and key on their precious cats?
        It’s not malicious. It’s because it would rip our hearts out.

    • Agreed, Ahsan. I have some strictly outdoor ferals here and inside/outdoor cats. It makes me crazy. I am, constantly, outside monitoring their activities. It used to be so hard to keep them on my turf and not stray, but it’s so much better now after years of… I don’t even know what to call it… it’s not really training. It’s just a “I’m here, so you should be here too” sort of thing. Does that make sense?
      In any case, there are only a very few that wander further than the property line now.

      • Dee, my experience of having indoor-outdoor cats is that generally speaking they do stay close to home. It’s probably because they feel most secure there or want to keep an eye out for intruders. In the summer months mine love sunbathing all day on a wooden bench in my garden.

          • Michael, with the dense population of cats in most UK towns and cities, I doubt there are very few cats which roam up to 900 acres. No pet would have to travel that far to find food or anything else for that matter. Even in the rural setting for the Horizon Cat Watch study, the cats had a home range of less than 10 acres.


            I give cats credit for having the intelligence (and excellent hearing) to learn some road sense. Otherwise how do you account for the majority of cats worldwide who’ve never been involved in a car accident? A small survey carried out in Cambridge showed “cats being 16% less likely to be involved in an accident for each increase of a year in age.”

            I love my cats and don’t want them to come to any harm, but I’m not going to project my fears onto them. In all honesty, as a driver I have more chance of being injured or killed in a road accident than my cats do.

              • Don’t get me wrong Michael, I do fully appreciate your concerns. Especially as you have previously lost a cat this way and you currently live in an area with heavy traffic. Under those circumstances I too would keep my cats indoors full time. (Sophie & Merlin were indoor-only for 5 years because I wasn’t convinced our neighbood was safe for them.)

                I think you’re sensible to also take Gabriel’s age into account. That Cambridge vet study did show that young males (neutered or not) comprised the majority of road casualties. It also confirmed the advice given by vets and rescues here, that cats are more likely to be involved in road accidents at night.

  4. Letting cats outside unsupervised obviously has it’s risks, but then the same is true for all of us the minute we set foot outside.

    I try to minimise the outdoor risks for them by choosing homes in areas with reduced traffic, feeding small, frequent meals (to keep them close to home)and making sure they are indoors for the night before it starts getting dark outside. To be honest, they don’t spend a lot of time outside and mainly hang around my garden. They enjoy going out and so long as it’s relatively safe to do so, I’m not going to deny them that simple pleasure. For me, their quality of life has to be an important factor in keeping them happy and stress free.

    • Michele, do let them wander around and go anywhere they want to? I used to think that was okay but have gone off the idea. I just see too many hazards. I know the arguments etc. Quality of life and so on but isn’t safety before everything? It depends where you are. You can normally tell if it is safe. I also think that younger cats are more prone to screwing up and getting lost or doing daft things which are dangerous.

      • I do allow them to go outside unsupervised. Sophie has a quick, early morning patrol around my front and rear gardens. Then spends all day indoors, until she carries out her mid-afternoon patrol. Charlie and Horace (my ex-strays) spend longer outside, but much of that is spent in my back garden. If the weather isn’t great, they may choose not to go out at all.

        Sophie was indoor-only for the first 5 years of her life (due to our location) and she never showed any interest whatsoever in going out. My other cat Merlin hated being cooped-up indoors and made several attempts to escape. When he developed Pica, we moved to a home on a small complex with secured gardens where he was allowed to go outside. Being able to hunt (mainly lizards)for real, cured the Pica problem immediately. To my surprise Sophie developed a sudden interest in going outside. At first I accompanied them, but when I felt confident they knew where we lived, I let them wander the gardens on their own.

        Michael I can understand your reluctance to let Gabriel out because of what happened to your previous cat. If you feel more comfortable keeping him indoors that’s fine.

        I know there are risks to letting mine outside unsupervised, but I feel that based on my cats’ personalities and our neighbourhood, that those risks are relatively low. Bearing in mind that Sophie is a rather dominant individual I think having additional territory outdoors, where they can let off steam is good for all 3 cats. I think there would be a lot more tension if they were indoors all the time.

  5. Well, I’ll give this a shot…
    I don’t know what goes on in the minds of Brits; but, I think that I have a fairly decent grasp when it comes to the minds of cat lovers.
    Anyone, anywhere who loves their cat(s) would never intentionally place them in harms way. None would have an “Oh well…” attitude about their cat being creamed by a truck.
    I believe that all caretakers weigh the benefits with the risks very carefully. They all want the optimal freedom for their cats with the lowest risk possible.
    Sometimes, the risk is too great. Afterall, there are completely indoor cats even in the U.K. It’s not always easy, as even Michael knows. Even if the risk is low outside for Gabriel, he still has much to learn about the potential dangers.
    No caretaker just opens the door and lets what happens happen.

    • Oh well…” attitude about their cat being creamed by a truck

      The truth is and my argument is that a lot if Brits seems to be accepting of this potential. They have decided that cats just have to be outdoors and that rule outweighs the safety aspects. I don’t think that enough Brits give enough thought to it because the culture here is “let the cat out”.

      It is similar to the culture that says cats can be declawed. It is done without due consideration.

      • Really?
        I guess it’s just a case of “put the cat out”.
        Do you think it is a mindset of what the cat wants or a “cannot be bothered” thing? Or both?
        Not critical. Just curious.
        What do you think is best for Gabriel now and when he grows to maturity?

        • I think it is a culture thing going back many years. It may in part be due to a lack of real concern. I’d like to see more Brits consider alternatives. For example when cats are poisoned in a certain area they seem to let their cats go out still. They don’t reassess what they are doing.

          For Gabriel. I want put him in a leash or buy a small portable outside enclosure and when he understands what is out there better, I may let him go out with me supervising. I just need to have some control for his safety.

          Alternatively, move and buy a house with a fully enclosed garden. That is the best solution I believe.

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