Cat charity dismayed at plans to shoot Scottish feral cats

13 April 2016
Following the news that documents from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (one of 20 partners in Scottish Wildcat Action) have revealed that feral domestic cats will be shot if caught in traps1, the charity Cats Protection offered the following comment:
“Under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, feral cats are regarded as ‘protected animals’ and it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to them. As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity we are obviously opposed to the destruction of feral cats and would always advocate a humane trap, neuter and return approach to this issue,” said Dominic Sullivan, Cats Protection’s Director of Legal Services.
“For this reason we declined to be part of the Scottish Wildlife Conservation Action Group (SWCAG), which was established by Scottish National Heritage, and again when the group published its ‘Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan’. While the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is at pains in the application to explain that feral cats will be ‘dispatched’ without causing unnecessary suffering, ultimately it would be for the courts to decide whether or not any suffering was unnecessary in the circumstances of each case.  
“A further concern for us is the risk that family pets may be mistaken for feral cats and ‘dispatched’, causing obvious distress to the owners and the possibility of an offence of criminal damage under Scottish law.”
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For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911, at, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.
Notes to Editors:

  1. A licence application to set traps as part of the £2million Scottish Wildcat Action Plan was approved by Scottish Natural Heritage. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland applied to perform the trapping and the licence application states: ‘Any individuals which are obviously feral domestic cats will be dispatched according to standard predator control practices by the land manager, with appropriate firearm in one shot with minimal time to death.’
  2. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps over 205,000 cats each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.
  3. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  4. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland).
  5. Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
  6. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at