The Courier

Angus and Mearns Matters: Cats and cars are becoming an increasing issue

Cats are a tricky one.

Like olives, I’d love to love them.

But they’re just not to my taste.

Which isn’t to say I don’t admire those who would say their lives are the better for having Manzilla, Munchkin – or both – in them.

Or understand the crushing void left by the sudden loss of a beloved pet in difficult and cruel circumstances; such as being left at the roadside after a vehicle strike.

It would take a particularly heartless individual to blithely keep the right foot planted and leave a pet cat for dead on the street, but boy racers have been blamed for local incidents which have left families bereft.

Opinion seems to suggest the pop-bang menace on our streets is becoming an increasing irritation, not to mention a danger, so any moves to rein them in should be welcomed.

The problem is rather more complex, however, and the difficulty for cats is that they are almost as much at risk from responsible drivers due to the fact that today’s traffic-congested towns and villages are not an environment conducive to exercising their natural instinct to roam.

It’s rare not to encounter a crossing kitty either in town or country if you’re regularly on the roads, and statistics point to an approaching explosion in cat numbers because of a reluctance to get animals neutered.

An Angus campaigner told Holyrood last week the pet cat population is doubling every four years, pushing rescue groups to breaking point and leading to huge numbers of displaced animals left to presumably take their chances against the traffic in a game which has a tendency to rapidly use up those nine lives.

That’s perhaps borne out by a growing tide of social media posts about cats which have had the misfortune to be a hit-and-run victim, but don’t have a collar or tag to make it easy for people to at least let the owner know what has happened.

There have been calls for a law change to require any driver who kills a cat to report it to the police.

If that’s worth considering, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to examine the idea of various requirements such as registration, neutering and microchipping being applied to cat ownership.