I approve of the actions of Anne Lowe, who put up a nice clear sign in her front garden, which you can see in the photograph above. It’s a warning to drivers to slow down because her cat might be crossing the road. I think vehicle speed is a major factor in cats being struck by vehicles.
Fortunately, I live in an area where the traffic slows down where my house is for various reasons and I believe that this is quite a significant factor in making the area safer for cats who are allowed outside by their owners.
Anne Lowe erected the sign because her cat, Diamond was hit by a car. She was devastated. Her cat was hit about two weeks ago and the driver did not stop. This upset Anne. Diamond came home about five hours after the accident and Anne took her to the veterinarian immediately. Fortunately x-rays showed that no bones were broken although all the claws had been ripped out of one of her paws. Diamond was lucky and suffered tissue damage only.
I feel that the sign might do some good. Although there are people who deliberately try to run over cats if they see one on the road. This puts doubt in my mind as the effectiveness of the sign. I don’t think it’s illegal. Looking at the road outside Anne’s home I can see that it is an encouragement to drive quickly as it is wide and clear ahead.
A couple of issues come to mind with respect of the sign. Firstly, a lot of people (and this has happened apparently on Facebook) will criticise Anne for allowing Diamond to wander around the area including on the road. A lot of people who don’t own cats and those who keep them inside would argue that it is irresponsible to allow your cat to wander outside in such an area. It is a forceful argument.
Slower speeds on urban roads
Secondly, there appears to be a gradual trend towards maximum 20 mph speed limits in urban areas in England. This is certainly the case where I live although not on my road as yet. I believe that a 20 mile hour speed limit is beneficial in terms of minimising collisions between vehicles and wondering domestic cats. That’s not to say that a 20 mph speed limit should be in force simply to protect domestic cats. I’m simply saying that it is a convenient spin-off.
Although I know of no studies on this subject, as mentioned earlier, reducing vehicle speed in urban areas allows, in my view, for cats to better judge vehicle speed and avoid vehicles when crossing the road. In short, a 20 mph speed limit would benefit domestic cat health and welfare in the UK.
We are told by PetPlan that a quarter of a million cats are run over by vehicles in the UK annually (click to see article). Some attacks by foxes on cats are in fact foxes scavenging cat carcasses on the road where the cat was killed by a vehicle.
Source of article on Anne Lowe’s sign: Guernsey Press.