Between March 2000 and February 2001, six veterinary practices in Cambridgeshire collected data on 117 owned cats which they had examined after a road traffic accident (RTA). The owners of 66 of these cats completed questionnaires and the information in them was compared with the information in questionnaires from a control population of 796 cats that had never been in a road accident. The RTA cats were, on average, younger than the controls; when adjusted for age the two populations did not differ with respect to the time they spent outdoors or the time they had lived at their current address. Proportionately more of the RTA cats wore reflective collars and/or lived in areas with higher levels of traffic than the controls. The accidents were evenly distributed throughout the year, and there was a trend for more accidents to happen during the night than the day. Forty-eight per cent of the accidents whose location was known occurred just outside or very near the cat's home.