European countries where you can hunt and shoot outdoor domestic, stray and feral cats

Hunting stray cats
Well, this is America and not Europe because I couldn’t find a suitable photo or one as good from Europe. It sets the tone.
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It surprises me that in 2015, in Europe, in a healthy number of member states, the hunting and shooting of outdoor, domesticated cats is permitted. It appears that the bureaucrats in Brussels have totally ignored animal welfare in their blizzard of regulations and rules.

It is difficult to find hard facts on this topic which also surprises me. The internet is not that good on certain subjects which requires the gathering together of information from different sources.

This list is not complete but I may be able to add to it over time. There may be some errors.


Spain is not a country to look up to in respect their relationship with animals. A law called The Reform Act amends (modifies) prior law (statutes). It is said that the creation of the law was illegal. The Reform Act makes it legal to shoot a range of animals including stray cats and dogs.


Up to 400,000 domestic, stray and feral cats are killed by hunters annually. The law in Germany makes it legal to shot cats if they are outside the home and more than 200 meters (216 yards) from a built-up area. However, hunters sometimes abuse this rule and shoot cats 50 meters from a person’s home as told by Nicole Hallek whose cat, Molly, was shot under these circumstances when she went for a walk in fields abutting her home near Augsburg (South Germany).

There are about 300,000 hunters in Germany. The hunting lobby pester politicians to keep the law in place. This is the German Hunter’s Association. They insist they are performing a civic duty in preventing hunting of rare wildlife and game birds by cats.


Until Jan 1st 2012 people had the right “to shoot free-ranging cats and dogs. It was legal under Poland’s Animal Protection Act 2002. On Jan 1st 2012 the Act was amended. The paragraph allowing shooting of free-range cats and dogs was removed.


Switzerland is another civilised country with attitudes towards hunting and even eating cats which are less than civilised in the opinions of animal advocates. They are also involved in the fur trade including domestic cat fur. A stain on their copybook as far as I am concerned.

It is legal to hunt stray cats in Switzerland. I presume ‘stray cats’ mean any cat seen wandering around outide stray or not because how can you tell the difference?

In 2013 there was a proposal to ban hunting of stray cats. It failed to become law by a vote of 105 to 59 (conclusive, then).

Animal advocates petitioned for change and gathered together a 13,000 signature petition to no avail.

As I understand it, stray cats must be more than 200 meters from dwellings like the German law.

Swiss scientists support the hunt. Officials claim that the survival of some lizard species is threatened by wandering domestic cats.


In parts of the Netherlands (e.g. Noord-Brabant and Friesland) it is legal to hunt and shoot stray cats. As at 2013, up to 13,000 domestic, stray and feral cats are shot annually.

It is illegal to hunt and shoot outside cats in France but it seems that farmers in this large European country, which is relatively underpopulated compared to the UK, ignore the law, shoot cats and get away with it. I have not been precise here. There may be some exceptions for farmers as in Britain.

In the UK it is illegal to hunt and shoot cats of any kind even the wild kind unless you are a farmer or landowner and you are participating in “pest control” but you can’t cause unnecessary suffering. How do you know you are not causing unnecessary suffering? Are all the shots perfect causing instant death?

In Eastern European countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungry appear to have less well developed animal protection laws and as a consequence more animal abuse which goes unpunished. At this time I have been unable to find out if hunting of cats is allowed in these countries. I suspect it is condoned even if not allowed.


  • Woodsan001 (aka Woody) is banned from commenting.
  • Sources: numerous including the Telegraph, Sarah Hartwell,, forums (, etc.

4 thoughts on “European countries where you can hunt and shoot outdoor domestic, stray and feral cats”

  1. Glad that “Woody” aka “Betty” has been banned, but wont he just come up with a new alias?

  2. How far should we go to protect prey from it’s natural predators? Hunt and kill cats because they hunt and eat lizards? It seems that all the way down the food chain, all beings kill to survive. Humans are actually able to survive without killing or eating what’s been killed for them, but most choose not to.

    The act of torturing and killing for sport is the lowest form of human behavior. It signifies to me that we really haven’t come very far in mass evolution of consciousness. And children are learning to torture and kill from their guardians, who will then pass it on to their offspring, unless a new awareness happens somewhere along the way, to break that pattern.

    That is the mandate of the animal activists who have been able to change some laws, though the killing mind may remain the same. I’d like to hear about people who have had an “awakening” from that previous mentality.

    I haven’t done any research on this, since it’s just a curiosity, and low on my list.

    • An ‘awakening’ is needed (a good word). If a person likes sport hunting I think it is for life. I don’t feel that these people can change. It is a permanent trait. I have never even considered it and have always hated it. As you say sport hunters are for me, unenlightened individuals who are similar to Neanderthal man in some ways in that their mentality is so uneducated. They have not developed. Father teaches son and daughter to perpetuate it just like father/mother perpetuates a lack of respect for animals. There thinking is centuries out of date as far as I a concerned.


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