Cats need all nine lives, as vets treat shocking levels of injuries

08 August 2017

The most common cause of injury in cats is road traffic accidents, followed by falling from a height, airgun injuries and burns

Cats really do need their mythical nine lives, with 90% of vets having treated cats for injuries caused by road traffic accidents (RTAs), falling from a height and walking on hot surfaces, according to findings from a British Veterinary Association (BVA) survey revealed on International Cat Day (8 August).

Almost all (94%) of vets surveyed had seen cats injured by RTAs – with one vet alone seeing 99 cases during a 12-month period. BVA's Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which polled over 800 companion animal vets across the UK, revealed that, on average, vets treated twice as many cat RTA injuries as cases of similar dog injuries. The next most common cat injuries that vets saw through their practice doors were caused by cats falling from height, airgun injuries and burns.

Veterinary surgeon and British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz said:

"Vets are seeing a shocking number of cat injuries in their surgeries. These statistics should make owners stop and think about whether their homes and gardens are safe enough for their cats.

"Cats are agile and adaptable animals, but their nine lives are a myth. The good news is that cat owners can take some simple steps to protect their pets from the most common accidents and injuries, including using reflective collars, keeping cats indoors overnight, and being careful in the kitchen and with open windows.”

This International Cat Day, BVA is offering advice to assist owners in keeping their cats as safe as possible:

  • Get a reflective collar so that car drivers can see your cat in low light
  • Keep your cat indoors at night to help avoid RTAs
  • A neutered cat roams less and stays closer to home, lessening the RTA risk
  • Make sure windows above the ground floor are not opened wide enough for a cat to fall through
  • Keep cats away from the kitchen when cooking and make sure hobs are properly cooled and covered before allowing access again