It is an anomaly that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland there is a requirement to report an accident involving an animal which is not in the vehicle provided the animal is one of the following: horse, cattle (e.g. cows), ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog.
Cats are not listed and it is time for this oversight to be corrected by the Department for Transport who can possibly add in cats to the list of animals under a statutory instrument which means there is no need for primary legislation (debating and passing a bill into law as a statute). It could be an easy process.
The law on this is the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 170, extracts of which I have reproduced below. I am trying to think why cats were left out of the list in the first place. The reason is probably linked to the concept that cats are free-roaming in the UK and therefore are not possessed or owned in a strict sense or less so than the dog or cattle. That is perhaps a poor argument but I don’t have a better one. It is outdated. It ignores the emotional connection. There was a time perhaps before the 1950s when, in the UK, cats were treated more like modern day barn cats.
Extracts from the relevant section of the law:
170 Duty of driver to stop, report accident and give information or documents.
(1) This section applies in a case where, owing to the presence of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place, an accident occurs by which—
(a) personal injury is caused to a person other than the driver of that mechanically propelled vehicle, or
(b) damage is caused—
(i) to a vehicle other than that mechanically propelled vehicle or a trailer drawn by that mechanically propelled vehicle, or
(ii) to an animal other than an animal in or on that mechanically propelled vehicle or a trailer drawn by that mechanically propelled vehicle, or
(iii) to any other property constructed on, fixed to, growing in or otherwise forming part of the land on which the road or place in question is situated or land adjacent to such land.
(2) The driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle must stop and, if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his name and address and also the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle.
(3) If for any reason the driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle does not give his name and address under subsection (2) above, he must report the accident. (4) A person who fails to comply with subsection (2) or (3) above is guilty of an offence.
(8) In this section “animal” means horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog.