CAT owners are being warned of a potential increase of animals being hit by cars as lockdown measures are eased.

Cats Matter, a feline road traffic accident group, has been working with DEFRA on the upcoming legislation requiring all cats to be microchipped, and the potential following legislation of making it illegal to leave the scene if a driver hits a cat while driving, as is currently the case for dogs.

The have reported that before lockdown, PetPlan figures record 230,000 cats are hit by cars every year, that's 630 every single day in the UK.

During lockdown, the organisation noticed a "dramatic increase" in the reports about cats being killed by vehicles.

They have reported that they were receiving four times the amount of mail from grieving owners as they normally would.

Research found that owners were reporting that their cats had died on a road they would not usually venture onto.

It is believed that during lockdown, with less traffic on the roads, cats felt more comfortable on roads and became used to less traffic.

This meant that as restrictions were eased, more cats were killed or injured on the roads.

A spokesperson from Cats Matter said: "What we noted was, all reports were exactly the same reporting cats being hit during the day time hours and on roads their cat would never normally venture on to.

"We concluded this was due to cats feeling more comfortable with much less traffic on the roads, and taking risks they normally wouldn't.

"This combined with irregular traffic and drivers being less vigilant due to less going on around them, spelt disaster for animals."

The organisation is now warning owners that there may be another spike in road accidents as the roads are due to become busier once again.

Outdoor cats have no experienced quieter roads with many making use and exploring new areas.

The spokesperson added: "What we fear now is another spike in road accidents due to the roads changing again.

"Outdoor cats have now experienced quieter roads, with many making use of this and exploring new ground. As the roads slowly return to normal, we fear there will be a spike again as both cats and drivers get used to another new normal.

"We would like both drivers and pet owners to remain vigilant and take extra care. We have advice on the website on how drivers can help if they hit a cat but it is also about owners taking the necessary precautions too to decrease any potential risk.

"We would also like to urge drivers to stop and make attempts to help the cat.

"We do not want to penalise drivers for tragic accidents, but we just ask drivers make attempts to give the cats the very best chance of survival, rather than leave them alone, scared and in pain by the roadside."