Tuesday 31 January 2023

Transporting your cat on a car roof rack! Why?

Scenario: you want to take your cat to the veterinarian or some other place. You put your cat in a cat carrier and you strap the carrier to the roof rack of your car rather than putting the carrier on the front seat next to you where you can keep an eye on it and your cat. Why should someone put their cat on the roof rack? But this is exactly what a Queensland, Australia motorist did recently and it was photographed.

Cat in carrier attached to car roof rack
Cat in carrier attached to car roof rack. Image: Reddit.com

The car was seen on a busy road in a Brisbane suburb. You can't see the cat in the photograph but the photographer said that there was a terrified cat inside the carrier.

The witness said that there was room inside the car. She couldn't see a reason why it was strapped to the roof rack. Perhaps she was wrong? Perhaps the owner of the vehicle was allergic to cats and he was doing the cat's owner a favour by taking him/her to their destination?

The general reaction from people is outrage according to the news media. It is probably more bemusement and concern because there is no need to do this on the face of it and it does jeopardise the cat' safety.

The cat's safety is dependent upon how well the carrier is strapped to the roof rack. It is certainly less safe to put a cat on a roof rack than it is to put the animal inside the car. Although, we are told the weather conditions were benign and I suspect that the car wasn't going that fast.

That said, perhaps the car went out into the countryside afterwards. We don't know. The RSPCA in Australia apparently has a regulation which states that cats should travel in a secure carrier and the carrier should not be placed into the boot of a car. There are no specific regulations about attaching the carrier to a roof rack apparently.

Although regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction within Australia, the general law is that cats should be housed in an appropriate area within the vehicle. That's really about common sense.

The discussion about the photograph indicates divided opinions. Some people have said that what we see in the photograph is no different to placing a cat in the back of an open storage area of an SUV. I'm referring to those "trucks" we see in America are a lot where there is a functional storage area open to the elements behind the driver's cab.

But I see a difference. Placing a cat in that area of an SUV is safer than attaching it to a roof rack on top of a car where it could become detached and fall off. In the "tray" of an SUV there is no possibility of the carrier falling off the vehicle.

This is probably a story out of nothing. There might be a genuine reason why this driver has the cat on his roof rack. The only reason that I can think of that works is the one that I've mentioned: he or she is allergic to cats!

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