Tuesday 18 January 2011

Young male cats more likely to be in road accident

As expected, young, random bred (moggie), male cats are more likely to be involved in road accidents than other cats. Moral: keep 'em in or confined to a nice cat enclosure or high fenced garden or walled garden - anything - until they grow up! Or get an old, female, purebred Persian cat instead because Persian cats are probably the most static of all the purebreds and old cats are smarter and females take less risks and are less adventurous etc. etc...Phew. That was not meant in anyway to be sexist. I am just coming to the conclusions that can only be formulated from the research study: "Study of factors that may predispose domestic cats to road traffic accidents: part 1" by I. Rochlitz, BVSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1.

Charlie a three legged black cat in profile
Charlie a 10 yr old male three legged cat who is in some danger from a road accident  - photo Michael Broad at PoC.

To put a bit of fat on that, male cats whether they are neutered or not are almost twice as likely to be in a road traffic accident than the average cat. And for every increase of one year in the age of a cat, the chances of being involved in a road traffic accident decrease by 16 percent.

Interestingly, the odds of a purebred cat being involved in a road accident is less than one third that of a random bred cat (a moggie or mixed breed cat).

I think the last statistic or conclusion is probably due to the fact that purebred cats are more likely to be cosseted, perhaps kept in despite the fact that the study was conducted in the UK where most cats are indoor/outdoor cats  - outdoor cat problems. This is because of the expense of adopting them and people who adopt purebreds are probably, in general, more aware and concerned about the dangers. That said there are many individual and wonderful cat caretakers of moggies who are better than purebred cat "owners".

The finding that older cats are much less likely to be involved in car accidents is because they are more static and less adventurous. There is probably an element of learned behaviour too - experience. My old lady cat, Binnie (18+ years of age), goes out daily but never travels further than about 20 yards from the cat flap. That confines her to a safe area. I feel confident, very confident in fact, that she will be alright when she goes out.

My three legged boy cat who is about aged 10 (a guess as he is a rescue cat) travels further and is at a much greater risk. He worries me slightly but I have watched and monitored him and I feel reasonably confident that he will be alright.

The underlying tenor of this finding is probably stating the obvious and it is very much inline with wildcat behavior. Young male wildcats when they leave the natal area, their home as adolescents with their mother, go much further to find their home range than the females who often stay close to their mother's range. A male wildcat's range is also much larger than those of a female and in fact it encompass female ranges. Male ranges rarely overlap, however. Male wildcats are also programmed to take more risks to capture a home range and hold on to it.

As I said, if you adopt a young boy cat, please watch and supervise him carefully. He should not be allowed to roam in areas where roads are nearby or even in the vacinity. It is far too dangerous.

See much more: Cat Behavior

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