People ask why cats get hit by cars at night. I believe that the answer is quite straightforward. Two things happen at night with respect to cats and cars which do not happen during the daytime:
- There are less cars on the road.
- There are more cats on the road.
Obviously during the night there are less cars on the road. Except when people start going to work at around 4 am and traffic starts to build up.
Domestic cats allowed to go outside will spend a lot of time wandering and hunting at night. The domestic cat is a crepuscular creature. They are programmed to hunt at dawn and dusk and during the night.
During these times a cat will wander onto roads. They might cross a road to go into a field. That road might be a major thoroughfare. It will be quiet at night and relatively safe but at dawn the traffic will build up. The cat will be coming home. The road will be much busier. These are the moments when cats are killed by traffic.
So the answer to the question in the title is that cats are far more active at night and wander onto roads, and despite the fact that there are less vehicles on the roads at that time the chance of being hit by a vehicle are still greatly increased particularly in the early hours of the morning when people start going to work.
In Britain cat owners except the risk that their cat may be killed on the road. This surprises me but, I confess, I accept this risk myself: certainly at present. However, I accept the risk with great reluctance and with some trepidation. Fortunately, I live on a quiet road. At night there is almost no traffic on it.
My cat is almost strictly active during the night while during daytime he is far more likely to rest inside the home or wonder nearby in the garden. He is a classic candidate for being hit by a car at night. I want to build him a large outside enclosure but there are technical difficulties. At present I accept, on his behalf, the risk.