What should you do if you find a dead cat?

What To Do If You Find A Dead Cat On The Road?

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I was recently driving home and spotted a deceased animal in the road; I was not sure if it was a cat or a rabbit until I drove closer (it was a wild rabbit). No matter what the animal, it is always sad to see one who has been killed by a vehicle.

In the event of a cat (or dog) fatality, it is always best, where safe to do so, to pull over and remove the animal from the road and take it to a veterinary surgery or animal shelter. Not only does this give the cat’s family closure (which we will detail further down), but it also potentially prevents an accident should another driver see the animal and swerve to avoid it.

If it is not safe to do so for either yourself or other traffic on the road (such as a busy freeway), do not stop. But where practical, pull over, carefully pick up the cat and drive it to the closest veterinary practice or animal shelter. If the cat is microchipped, staff will be able to contact the owner and inform them. Finding out your pet has been killed is going to be hard on the family, but it at least gives them some closure instead of never knowing what happened to the cat. It also provides them with the opportunity to take the cat’s remains and bury it at home or have the cat cremated.

Related: How to determine if a cat has passed away

If you can’t safely move the cat

Contact the local council to inform them of a deceased cat on the road and the location.

If you can’t take the cat to a vet or shelter

Where safe to do so, at the very least, move the cat to the side of the road to prevent further trauma. Contact local veterinary practices to inform them that there is a deceased cat, along with the cat’s description and the location you placed it. Most pet owners will call their local veterinarian if their cat goes missing.

Most cities, suburbs, and towns have a local Facebook page for general news and/or lost and found pets. It can help to post a message in your local group along with a description of the cat.

What if you accidentally run over a cat or a dog?

Stop and check on the animal. If it is still alive, very carefully pick up the cat (place it on a board where practical to avoid further trauma), and drive it to the nearest veterinarian. Please don’t leave the cat there when it can potentially be saved.

If the animal is deceased, take it to the nearest veterinary practice so that they can scan the animal. Accidents happen, and animals can suddenly dart out on the road, but if you do hit the animal, don’t just leave it there.

In the UK at least, by law, you must report it to the police if you have hit a dog (sadly cats aren’t included in the legislation).

Remember, it may be just a cat to many, but for the cat’s family, he or she is a loved and valued pet, even if it is a sad outcome, they deserve closure.



Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care.Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time.Full author bio Contact Julia