29 answers

I Just Hit a Cat with My Car! What Do I Do?

I was about a mile from my house with my 3 kids in the car when an animal darted out in front of me. My husband was behind me and as I looked in the review mirror I could see that he hit it too. I screamed and continued home in shock telling the kids it was just a bump. I dropped the kids off at home with my husband and I went back to the site.

With my headlights, (night time, dark road) I was able to tell that it was a black cat, definitely dead, with no collar. I pulled into the nearest driveway and asked the person who lived there if it was his cat. The guy said no. I asked him if he knew who the cat might belong to and again he said no. So I went back to the cat, trying to figure out what to do. I then pulled into another driveway and I thought I should knock and ask those people as well. Well as soon as I drove further in, I got a strange feeling that what I was doing was not safe. It was not a well lit house, not very welcoming. So I decided to leave. I briefly stopped by the cat, (busy road so i had to be brief) and said sorry and a little prayer. I then dove home to let my husband know what it was that we hit and killed.

I have since put the kids to bed and had time to think about it. And I am not sure I did the right thing. Should I have called the police? Do they really care, after all, it had no collar and could very well have been feral? Should I have tried to move it even though it was a busy road, very dark, at night? Should I have knocked on more doors even though I was alone and didn't feel safe? The houses on this road are far apart as it is a country road and there weren't too many that close.

How sad. I feel just awful. Please help.

A.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of your responses. You are all so caring and really helped me feel much better about the situation. After reading your responses in the morning I went back to check on the cat and from there I was going to make the call to animal control but the cat was gone. I am hoping to God that it was lovingly taken away by the proper people. I however cannot allow this to be over. I will continue to seek a possible owner through the community bulletins, newspaper, neighbors, etc. Thank you all again for such comforting words.

Featured Answers

I think you did all the decent things anyone would expect you to do. If you were going to call the police, you should have done it immediately. Once you did not do that, there was no point to calling the police the next day, for they could charge you with leaving the scene of the accident. It's just one of those unfortunate things that happens in life. I wouldn't dwell on it too long. Call me if you'd like to chat. I. Collins, Executive Senior Sales Director for Mary Kay, Inc. ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

I know how you feel... last week for the first time I hit a deer.. its mating season apparently in my area and they are everywhere.. I didnt even see her until it was too late, it was dark and this road I was on is a 55 mph zone, so thats what I was doing. I was a total wreck - I couldnt stop crying and the nightmares were horrible, but it gets better.

I did find out that I should have called the police for the police report and so they could have the animal removed from the road. (the impact made it become an angel)

But I think you did the right thing. With no collar you dont know who it belonged to or if it did belong to someone. People need to keep their animals inside.

1 mom found this helpful

All you can do is call animal control. I think going to the closest home was ok, but do not go door to door, especially at night! And definitely don't stress about it. There is nothing more you can do. As an animal lover, I understand that you're shook up, but there is nothing else you can do.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I hit a cap a couple of months ago. I was with my 4 year old and 2 year old girl. My sister has 5 cats of her own and my girls just love them. Well they knew I hit the cat - I swerved yelled OMG and then it was too late. I pulled a u-turn and parked in front of it - the cat was to the side of the road pretty much - dark at night like you. I called my sister hysterical and waited till she came with her boyfriend and removed the cat from the road. They put the cat in some brush - we said a prayer and let my daughter name the cat. I too felt terrible but if there was nothing you could do to avoid it - then there was nothing you could do. I think you should call the town to remove it from the road so it isn't hit over and over again. I hate to see any animal in the middle of the road. Don't worry though - you will think about it from time to time -but it will be OK. I felt terrible too.......Good Luck to you!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Oh, how sad! Mama, you did what you could do. You definitely should NOT have continued knocking on doors if you did not feel safe. There is a POSSIBILITY that the cat had a chip implanted, with his info...but how are YOU supposed to find out? I think you did just fine.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you went above and beyond...you're a sweet, warm hearted person and I'm sorry you had to go through that...I hit a bunny once and was horrified...my husband hit a dog RIGHT IN FRONT of it's 4 year old owner - talk about horrible!

You checked the cat, it didn't have a collar...you knocked on a neighbor's door...you did all you could...rest easy.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

That's tough- sorry you went through that. Don't feel guilty about leaving though. Your safety is more important. I would call animal control and tell them what happened. That way if someone calls to report a lost cat, they'll have record of it, and they'll pick it up as well. Good luck, and try not to feel so bad. Sounds like you did all you could.

1 mom found this helpful

A.--Your goodness just simply reflects through every word you write. Sometimes such things are unavoidable. I am a nurse and have worked in a hospital where there is a radiologist who is on life support from having swerved to miss an animal who ran into the road and hit a tree as a result. You had your kids' safety to consider, and your husband's too--if you'd stopped too suddenly, he could have rear-ended you.

Now, the fact remains, in many years of driving, I have hit an opossum, a cat, and a squirrel, as well as a deer who ran into me, dented my car, and trotted off unscathed. Every time, I have remembered them, prayed for them, and still can replay the whole scene in my mind years later. It hurts to be human--and humane.

In our locale, there is a part of the road maintenance department that go around and clear the road of dead animals. I suppose ideally, you would have pulled the cat off the road, but I am a nurse who has dealt with a lot of tragedy, and I have never been able to face that. You did the best you could, and that seems really good to me. God bless... M.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh A. J....you sound just like me. I've hit a few squirrels in my time & have buried them. I think you did the right thing by not putting yourself in further danger. When you got that eerie feeling about that one house, that is your inutition at work. People say that feeling is God tapping you on the shoulder. I understand the need to want to find the owner because they may be worried. I keep my cats indoors. However, mine snuck out today....I got her back, but still. My feeling is that if people let their animals roam around unattended, anything can happen. Back to you... that was very admirable to go back to help the kitty & try to find the rightful owner. It was very thoughtful that you apologized & said a prayer for the kitty. =(

Take care,
A.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
First, you did the right thing. Second, thank you for speaking up on this Mamasource site. Third, I learned a lot by reading your responses. Fourth, I volunteer with an animal rescue team and, unfortunately, we can not take in animals now because we are at our maximum. We need more foster homes for dogs and cats. The consequence of that plus what is going on with our economy is that there will be more incidents like this. In fact, I drove out just 50 miles to see the foliage yesterday and saw 4 road kills. The other alternative is to be sure our animals are neutered and the cats are preferably indoor cats.
L.

1 mom found this helpful

You went above and beyond what you are expected to do in a circumstance such as that. Chances are the cat was feral, however, if he actually did belong to someone -- that is what can happen when black cats run the streets at nite. Obviously you are an animal lover and know how you would feel if the situation was reversed. We had a cat once, SixToes, whom we could NOT keep inside. He spent most of his life running around the streets and as fate would have it, one day he was hit by a truck and killed. I had to go pick up his "remains" with all the neighborhood kids watching me crying cuz they all loved SixToes. However, not for one moment did I blame the truck driver because I know he did not see this cat coming out from parked cars to run across the street. You did the right thing. L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.
You did the right thing, as well as all you could. You are right, it isn't safe for you to be knocking on strange doors at night (or ever really!) esp. by yourself. It is really sad, but there really isn't anything you can do. I suppose you could go back with youur husband if you really feel that bad. Then you wouldn't be alone, but if the cat belongs to someone, they may have found it by now. Don't feel to bad, it was an accident, and you tried!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you did all the decent things anyone would expect you to do. If you were going to call the police, you should have done it immediately. Once you did not do that, there was no point to calling the police the next day, for they could charge you with leaving the scene of the accident. It's just one of those unfortunate things that happens in life. I wouldn't dwell on it too long. Call me if you'd like to chat. I. Collins, Executive Senior Sales Director for Mary Kay, Inc. ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

oh, A., unfortunately, that happens, but one thing I was taught about that from defensive driving yuears ago, when it's an animal that is a cat or dog or certain other animals, you haveto go to nearby houses and see who owned the cat. But, you did a right thing about not going to a house that you didn't feel safe. We are supposed to go along with our feelings and I am sooooo proud and happy that you listened to your heart and your instinct and God was warning you perhaps to keep you safe and sound. You can call the cops and ask them whom you can contact to have the cat removed. You did the best you could and I felt good in my heart that you said you were sorry and a little prayer. Jesus will honor that because your heart was in the right place. Let us know what happened because I'm curious.

1 mom found this helpful

Sorry that you had to experience that.

Let me start off quickly by saying that my three cats all have break away collars with their i.d. tags, however being curious kitties they get themselves into situations where they lose them. They come off so frequently (for their safety--so they don't get strangled to death) that it was a pain to try to keep finding them all over the neighborhood. I would hope that someone would tell me or attempt to look for me to tell me that they hit and killed my cat. It would be important to my whole family (two boys and hubby) to get the kitty and bring him home to cremate, to say goodbye. If you are feeling badly or unsafe you should make another attempt in the daytime. Have your husband go with you. But go right away, for all the obvious reasons.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

Such a terrible thing to happen to a little guy like that. You must feel awful. I hit a deer a few weeks ago, and even though it got back up and ran away, I still felt terrible for days. I hope you feel better soon!

You said a prayer, you checked with neighbors, most people wouldn't go back; you have already done more. No collar, no ID, little guy might even be feral. Don't endanger yourself again to go looking for an owner that didn't care enough to put a collar and tags on. :(

You can should yourself anywhere you like with this one - you did what you could. You might go back with DH and pick up the little guy to bury him. That would be more than anyone else would do.

It is hard to hit an animal; they don't know any better. Some things you can help; this is one you cannot. Leave your prayer and the little guy in God's hands.

Good Luck,
M.

1 mom found this helpful

Take a deep breath. It happens all the time.
I understand your concern. This could've been someone's pet, but what's done is done and there's nothing else for you to do. You said you were sorry and said a prayer.

I hit a porcupine once and was balling. I said a prayer and said I was sorry to the Lord because if I would've been going the speed limit, I could've slowed down and avoided it. I too was "flipping" out. I was thankful that it wasn't a deer, bear, or a human.

Forgive yourself and move on.

Nanc

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

In our local newspaper people are frequently calling in with complaints that a cat or dog was hit and the person didn't stop. As you have discovered, it is not as simple as it would seem to be. I think you did the right thing. If you have a local paper that has a reader's column, you might call in and explain what happened, what you tried to do to find the owner, and offer up your condolences there. What more can you do? This is a scary world and you shouldn't put yourself at harm over hitting a cat. I guess the other thing you could do is go to the site where you hit the cat and write a note that you can put somewhere it would be found...if the cat is still there, you could leave it near the cat or something. Just a random idea that might work. Whatever you do from here, I believe you did all you could under the circumstances.

D.

1 mom found this helpful

Call the local police precinct today. Call the non-emergency number and tell them what happened. They either will check on it or tell you to call the county/public works etc. The poor cat does need to be removed. I think at this point it is an issue of sanitation and identification. It could be sick/rabid/etc. DO NOT GO over there and handle the body yourself. I know in my town you can register missing pets w/ the local police. they are really nice about identifying missing animals. Perhaps this is the same situation. I feel bad for you...I once hit a poor duckling. It was crossing the road, lost, by itself. There was no way I could see it since the road dips and it is a blind spot until you are right there-- there was another car tailgating me too. If I had stopped there could have been a bad car accident. My infant was in the car with me at the time.
Don't feel guilty-- you did everything possible, these things happen. Thankfully it was not a child.
The police are use to stuff like this so don't worry about calling them (even in NYC they get these calls).

1 mom found this helpful

What you did was more then I could have even managed. On a country road it's hard to say who's cat that could have been. They wonder so far. Probably call the police and/or animal control, and that's really all you can do. It's not safe to go knocking on strangers doors. God will take care of the kitty now.

1 mom found this helpful

A.

You certainly did the best you could...which is more than others. Probably a call to the police would have been good, just in case somebody calls them looking for their cat or a call to PAWS and they will pick up the body.

My cat doesn't have a collar, but it doesn't mean I don't don't adore him...many cats get strangled by collars and since my cat is an outdoor cat and loses all the "break away" collars...I've opted not to collar him. I keep all his tags in my house.

Any way...hitting any animal is quite tramatic and I am sorry you have to go through this.

D.

1 mom found this helpful

call the local police and let them know. people often call the police when they can't find their animals to see if any strays have been reported. i work for an animal shelter and the first thing we do is tell them to call the police and animal control to try to find their missing pet.

i dont think you should have knocked on more doors alone at night. you could call animal control and tell them you hit the cat so they could go collect the remains/and be sure it actually is dead and doesn't need medical attention. the police may also drive by to see if the animal is hurt or actually dead, too.

1 mom found this helpful

HI A.,
You sound like a very caring person. Most people would not even think twice about it. It is nice to know people, majority being Moms, have that soft spot. You are right though, not too safe knocking door to door. Your children's and your safety always comes first It was an accident and not your fault. Calling the police is not a bad idea, at least they know where the animal is and they can call animal control. I know you feel guilty, and that is normal but it was not your fault. It was the cat's time to move on. The only good lesson I can think about if you do decide to tell your children is the importance of looking both ways and being careful about crossing the road. Depends on the children's age. I have a 2 year old and I always enforce looking both ways but I don't think I would give him the details of the bump accident. For a child who is older, maybe? Depends. Just realize it was, again, not your fault. It was an accident, and although you feel bad, don't let it get you down. I know I feel badly about things like that too but it's just their time to move on. Good Luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

Hitting and killing any animal with your car is a terrible experience, and one that you will never forget, however, you have to remember that YOU are not the one who was at fault here! The cat's owner, if he even had one, is to blame for allowing his pet outside after dark where he could be killed or be badly hurt!

I think you were right to take your children home, and not expose them to the sight of the cat after it was hit, and you did return to the scene as soon as you could, to find the cat and see if it needed help or medical attention. After you found it dead, you also knocked on the door of the home nearest to where it happened, and inquired about its owner, and received no information.

Doing anything further than that, while you were alone and on a darkened road, would have been not only foolhardy, but dangerous as well. Your children need you, and putting yourself in harm's way for a situation that you couldn't do anything about would have made no sense at all! Your getting yourself mugged, or worse, certainly wouldn't have helped the cat, or its owner either!

If you had found the cat alive, but injured, then you should have taken it to the nearest vet, or called Animal Control or the Police in your area. However, since the cat was dead, moving it off the road, where it would not be hit again was really all you could do.

I hit a dog once, years ago, and I know how upsetting it can be, and how the experience haunts you afterwards. I know that it will be a long time before you stop being upset by what happened, but I truly believe that you did all you could, without putting yourself at risk.

Try to let it go, and be comforted by the fact that the cat probably died instantly, and never knew what hit him. He's in a better place now, where there's no more pain, and you are home with your children, safe, which is where you belong.

1 mom found this helpful

I dont know how you would find the owner. My cat of almost five years was hit about a month ago. When my kids and I pulled in the driveway, one of my daughters looked acrossed the street and said whats that? Instantly my other daughter looked and said it was boot, our cat and started crying hystaricaly. Loosing my brother six months ago, I was kind of numb and didnt say to much. I went across the street and it was our cat. I tried to comfert my daughter and we called animal control and waited for them to come.
What you did was an accident and you will be forgiven. It does bring me comfort that at least you did try to find the owners.

1 mom found this helpful

For future reference, which you hopefully won't need, you should call animal control or the police so THEY can call animal control. If it didn't have a collar, then it probably didn't belong to anyone. If it was someone's cat, then they are responsible for what happened, not you. No pet should be left to wander the streets alone.

Next time, please don't go door to door. Let animal control deal with it. If you did happen to stumble across the owner of the cat, they could have become hostile. Not to mention, you just never know who's door you are knocking on.

1 mom found this helpful

I know how you feel... last week for the first time I hit a deer.. its mating season apparently in my area and they are everywhere.. I didnt even see her until it was too late, it was dark and this road I was on is a 55 mph zone, so thats what I was doing. I was a total wreck - I couldnt stop crying and the nightmares were horrible, but it gets better.

I did find out that I should have called the police for the police report and so they could have the animal removed from the road. (the impact made it become an angel)

But I think you did the right thing. With no collar you dont know who it belonged to or if it did belong to someone. People need to keep their animals inside.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., you seem like a very warm and sensitive person. I believe you did all you can. Call the ASPCA and tell them what happened and where, and they will take it from there. Now, forgive yourself and move on. It was an accident. I have the same type of temperament, so I know I would feel the same way. Bless your caring heart! V.

1 mom found this helpful

I too live in the country and drive dark country roads. By law you have done the right things....you back tracked, checked for life, ID and made an effort to ask the people in the nearest house if they knew who the cat belong to and left when you didn't feel safe in the second driveway you had pulled into...
I can't tell you how many people do not bother which by law is considered hit and run.
It's time for you to move on...try to put it behind you the best you can.

There are many people who live in the country who do not protect their pets from this sort of thing from happening....they just opened their doors and let their pets out and when they don't come home, they just replace them. The idea of this just blows me away but that's the way it is and nothing for it...

1 mom found this helpful

All you can do is call animal control. I think going to the closest home was ok, but do not go door to door, especially at night! And definitely don't stress about it. There is nothing more you can do. As an animal lover, I understand that you're shook up, but there is nothing else you can do.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., I think you did the best you could do. To the best of my knowlege the police would say that a cat does not belong to anybody (if it does not have a collar) I am sure you feel terrible. It was nice that you went back and said a prayer. Where I live we are over run with cats. They just keep reproducing and yes they are ferral, sick and starving. Sadly once in a while a kitten wanders into the road and we all feel bad. I guess I am not much help but short of posting a sign to say you are sorry and digging a hole to bury it, you did what you could. Grandma Mary

1 mom found this helpful

You did the best you could. Perhaps you could call the local police dept just to let them know what happened, and they can either contact animal control or get the cat themselves. I'm sure the owners (if there is one) are already looking for the cat and have either found it already or will be calling the police to find out if anyone reported an "incident". You shouldn't feel bad.

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