With all the love for cats that the Internet and the world have in general, people sometimes wonder what the numbers tell us about our favorite feline friends. How many cats are there in the world, for example.
What about the habits of cats and their owners? All of these things have a pattern, as some very interesting cat statistics mentioned in this article show. So, if you’re curious or just want to know whether you’re alone in letting your cat sleep with you in your bed, read on.
103 Latest Cat Statistics
- WorldAtlas estimates there are more than 400 – 600 million domesticated and feral cats in the world. In all honesty, that sounds like a low estimate when you consider that cats form the bulk of the Internet. Anywhere in between seems a reasonable guess.
2. Of that 400 million, as suggested by WorldAtlas, about 375 million are pets. The rest are feral or stray. At least, that is the best estimate anyone will willingly venture.
3. Simply Insurance estimates that there are around 600 million cats living in the world today. 370 million of those cats are kept as pets.
4. 23% of the population report having a cat (Source: GFK Global Study)
Cat Adoption Sources
5. According to an ASPCA report, cats are primarily adopted from these sources.
- Animal Shelter/Humane Society – 31%
- Friends/Relatives – 28%
- Breeder – 3%
- Stray – 27%
- Private Party – 6%
- Other – 39%
6. An ASPCA National Rehoming Survey showed that 42% of rehomed cats were given up because of problematic behavior (54%) or health problems (29%).
Most Comon Cat Breeds
7. There is a difference of opinion when defining the most common cat breeds. One source – the Encyclopedia Britannica, lists only 15. But the International Cat Association recognizes 71. The Cat Fanciers’ Association in the USA listed 46 breeds in 2020, and the Fédération Internationale Féline in France declares there to be 48.
8. Of the pedigree breeds, these were the 10 most popular:
- Maine Coon
- British Shorthair
- Devon Rex
- American Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
11th place is what the CFA calls the registered companion cat. This type of cat makes up 95% of the mainstream cat population in the United States.
Cats in the USA
9. The numbers are estimates, but the best guess is that there are 60 million domestic cats living in homes in the USA, with about 43 million homes having at least one feline pet. That’s about 25% of households in the US. (Source: avma.org)
10. The United States has the highest cat population per capita in the world with just over 74 million cats. China has the second-highest cat population with over 53 million. (Source: GFK Global Study)
11. On average, cat homes have 1.8 cats. (Source: avma.org)
Feral Cats in the USA
12. There is a surprisingly large number of feral cats in the US. One estimate puts the number at around 32 million. Other estimates put the number closer to 100 million.
13. There are said to be 94 million home cats in the United States.
14. Female feral cats have an estimated 1.6 litters per year. Even though the lifespan of a feral cat is relatively short, it still poses a huge problem for a potentially massive feral cat population. As discussed elsewhere on this list, the impact on a local ecosystem can be devastating.
Sadly, most agree that most feral cats cannot be tamed and adopted. They can be considered wild animals for all intents and purposes. (Sources: National Today/ Bard.edu / tuckahoevet.com / WebMD)
Black Cats Seem Less Popular, But May Not in Fact Be So
15. Historically, black cats are the least-frequently adopted cats. Some believe this has to do with traditional superstitions. Others also argue that cat adopters generally seek more “photogenic” cats. A certain sector perceives black cats as more aggressive for unclear reasons.
But this statistic may not be as cut and dry as it first seems. While there appears to be a higher rate of euthanasia for black cats, deeper inspection suggests it may simply be because of a statistical abundance of black cat genes.
Cats Are a Threat to Other Wildlife
16. Cats are excellent hunters, but their instincts can have a negative impact on other species in their territory. As far as studies show, populations of birds (123 species), reptiles (25 species), and small mammal populations (27 species) have all been threatened by cats. (Source – Research Gate)
17. Nature.com estimates that free-roaming cats could theoretically kill up to an astonishing 4 billion birds and 22 billion small mammals per year in the US alone. This study was based on predation rates.
Cats Can Have 12 Kittens At a Time
19. Cats will be pregnant for between 63 and 67 days. Crunch the numbers, and you realize that a cat can have as many as 420 kittens in seven years.
20. The biggest litter on record is 19 kittens. Only 15 survived. (Sources: International Cat Care, The Spruce Pets, Purina, FactRetriever)
House Cats Live Longer
21. Life on the street is hard. The average stray or feral cat lives for a little more than two to three years on average. Strays and ferals are also less likely to live into adulthood.
22. Cats in homes with humans live more than ten years and about 15 years on average for a healthy cat.
23. Mixed breeds tend to live longer than pedigreed purebreds. The oldest cat on record lived for 38 years. Creme Puff lived in Texas. (Sources: PetMD, Wikipedia)
People Love to Adopt Cats
24. A surprisingly high percentage of domestic cats are adopted from shelters in the US – approximately 43% of cats in homes come from shelters. (Soure: HumanePro.org / APPA 2019/2020 report)
25. 21% of cat owners in the US have adopted strays. (Soure: HumanePro.org / APPA 2019/2020 report)
Houses Tend to Have More Than One Cat in the USA
26. As mentioned, the house that has cats tends to have almost two on average. Houses with dogs typically only have one dog. (Source: Spots)
27. There are more dogs than cats in homes in the US. (Source: Spots)
28. More than half the homes in the United States have dogs, while a little more than one-third favor cats. (Source: Spots)
Cat Food and Other Cat Costs
29. The Cat Market is estimated at $14 billion and is growing at a 4-5% CAGR. (Source: Business Wire)
30. According to the 2020 APPA report, cat owners spent an average of $228 on cat food in 2020.
31. Vet costs averaged $160, while surgeries cost $214. (Source: APPA)
32. That same year, $58 was spent on treats on average. (Source: APPA)
33. Owners were relatively stingy on cat toys, spending only $31 on average. (Source: APPA)
34. For the most part, people spend under $50 per month on their pets, according to a Joybird survey.
35. People between 55 and 64 tend to spend the most on their pets. The next age group to spend on their pets is 18-24 year-olds (Source: Joybird)
36. If you are aged 45-55, you may be more willing to spend $100+ per month on your pet. This doesn’t necessarily account for medical emergencies and other unforeseen expenses. (Source: Joybird)
37. 21% of cat and dog owners in the United States spent more on their pets during the pandemic. Cat owners on average spent $687 whereas dog owners spent $1,201. (Source: Petfood Industry, Money)
Millennials Own the Most Cats
38. Millennials are the age group most likely to own cats as they make up 31% of the ownership pie. (Sources: Pet Food Processing / Money)
39. Of that 31%, 82% own aa dog and 50% own at least one cat (Sources: Pet Food Processing / Money)
40. Milennials also spend the most on their cats, rounding out to around $745 per year. (Sources: Pet Food Processing / Money)
Company is Key
41. The main reason people get pets – and especially cats and dogs – is “for the company.” This is according to a YouGov survey, which saw 52% of respondents giving this reason. (Source: YouGov).
42. Cats are typically part of a larger family unit. Over half (56%) of cat people have children. Only 26% of cat owners are single. (Source: Cat Person)
Cat Shelters Are A Long Shot
43. Once a cat is lost, chances are slim of finding it in a shelter. Only 1% of owners find their cats in a shelter once it is lost. You have a better chance of finding it by searching your neighborhood.
44. That said, many cats are found and returned to owners who search for them. There’s a much better chance of finding a lost dog in a shelter, though. (Source: Pet Food Processing)
Kittens Are More Likely to be Adopted
45. 82% of kittens are adopted from a shelter or other source. (Source: MentalFloss)
46. Older cats – notably from around 18 months or older – have a much slimmer chance of finding a home. About 60% of older cats in a shelter can expect to find a new forever home. (Source: MentalFloss)
Orange is the New Cat
47. Numbers show that orange tabbies (sometimes called gingers, mistakenly) are the most popular color for adoption. Grays and browns follow, with the aforementioned black and tuxedo cats trailing last on the list. (Source: MentalFloss)
Cats Are the Most Common Pets Found in Shelters
48. Sadly, cats occupy up to two-thirds of shelter space in certain places. Cats and dogs together make up 80% of all animals in shelters. (Source: ASPCA / Psychology Today)
49. In the US, nearly a million pets are euthanized every year. Most are healthy or have treatable conditions. (Source: ASPCA / Psychology Today)
50. Only 10% of sheltered animals are neutered. (Source: ASPCA / Psychology Today)
Why People Give Up Their Cats
51. Allergic reactions are often quoted as reasons for people giving up cats. In reality, only around 37% of those who give up their cats attribute allergies as the primary reason. (Source: Petfinder)
52. Twice as many people are allergic to cats than to dogs. (Source: Petfinder)
53. Other reasons given for abandoning their pets are too many animals to care for (11%) and personal problems (4%). (Source: Petfinder)
Maine Coons Are the Largest Cats, Statistically
54. Maine Coons are considered the largest recognized breed of domestic cat, with some weighing up to 25 pounds and reaching 40 inches in length. (Sources: FactRetriever, CatTime)
Cats and Heart Disease
55. About 10% of all cats are afflicted with heart disease. It may well be the single leading cause of death among cats. The affliction can occur suddenly or be present for a while. (Sources: Pet Health Network, Traditions Veterinary Services)
What is an Old Cat?
56. In terms of classification, an 11-year-old cat is generally considered to be an old cat. That is the equivalent of a senior citizen in human terms. This doesn’t mean they will necessarily act old and slow. Some cats seem perfectly fine and energetic beyond 14 years old. (Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition)
Sharing Beds With Pets
57. Cats are more likely to share a bed or blankets with owners than dogs. Pet owners in general also report feeling that they sleep a lot better with their cats around. (Source: Apartment Therapy, CPA)
Cats Are Superb Groomers
58. Cats can spend up to half their day grooming and cleaning themselves. They love to be clean, and they love to look good. The process actually helps with more than keeping clean. It also helps to regulate body temperature and maintain a healthy coat. (Source: Cornell University)
Note: As they get older, their ability to groom may diminish, but they will also gradually become less active in general.
Cats Have Fertility Cycles From Four Months Old
59. A cat is said to be in heat when it is in its prime state of fertility or in estrus. This can last between 3 and 14 days. The cycle can repeat every few weeks unless the cat is neutered or becomes pregnant. (Source: VCAhospitals)
The Internet Was Made For Cats (Probably)
60. We often joke that the Internet is essentially a library of cats. And the numbers seem to support this notion. CNN reported in 2015 that there was an internet cat picture for every human on the planet – nearly 7 billion. (Sources: Treehugger, Wikipedia, CNN)
61. More people watch cat videos on YouTube than any other type of video. (Sources: Treehugger, Wikipedia, CNN)
62. The first cat video on Youtube was uploaded in 2005 by YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. He posted a video of his cat and called it “Pajamas and Nick Drake“. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
63. The first viral cat video was in 2006. “Puppy vs Cat” was uploaded by a user called Sanchey or Michael Wienzek and has had 16.3 million views as of January 2022. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
64. As of 2015, there were over 2 million cat videos on Youtube and cats are one of the most searched terms on the internet. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
65. The oldest continuously operated cat website is sophie.net. The site launched in 1999 and is still operating. (Source: Wikipedia)
66. In 2015 it was estimated that there could be around 6.5 billion pictures of cats on the internet. (Source: CNN)
More Men Than Women Own Cats, Statistically
67. In a surprising twist, it turns out that stats reveal men to be the primary cat owners of the world, though not by much. 37% of men own cats, while 33% of women call a feline their pet. (Source: Mintel.com)
68. Joybird also asked about pet ownership between men and women. Just about half of men surveyed have pets – 49%. But a whopping 58% of women prefer taking care of pets as opposed to having no pets at all. (Source: Joybird)
Your cat is Probably Left-Pawed
69. There are statistically more cats that are left-sided (or left-pawed) than right-sided. This means that they favor their left paw when needing to use their paws. Yes, animals also have a preferred or dominant “hand” for everyday use. (Source: Cat-world)
70. As pet owners, we already know that cats rank second to dogs in terms of sheer numbers. But what percentages of pet owners are cat people by region in the US? Cats are popular in the midwest, as 47% of pet owners have them: the northeast and the south rank a close second at 46%. Lagging behind is the west at a strangely low 35%. It seems Cali is not for kitties.
By contrast, the South and West love dogs, with 77% and 81% respectively of pet owners having them. (Source: Joybird)
Pets in the Home
71. More women enable their pets to roam free within the house. More men will have limits – like only allowing their pets in one room. Men and women share the load of those who leave their pets outside, splitting 50/50. That said, most pet dog and cat owners allow their pets inside the home.
72. More women allow their pets on the furniture – 66% of women pet owners, to be exact.
Where Pets Sleep
73. More cats get to sleep in or on the bed than dogs, percentage-wise. But dog owners will tend to let their dogs sleep outside less. We suspect this might have to do with some cat owners not knowing where their cats are sleeping.
75. For the most part, the majority of US cats and dogs get to sleep on a human bed or a pet bed.
Animal Shelter Cat Statistics
The ASPCA estimates the following figures when it comes to statistics around animal shelters. There is currently no official national database tabulating these numbers accurately.
76. Of the 6.3 million animals entering shelters every year, 3.2 million are cats. Overall, this has been a decline since 2011.
77. More cats than dogs are euthanized in shelters – about 530 000 cats compared to 390 000 dogs.
78. Four million dogs and cats are adopted every year – about two million of each.
79. Roughly 1000 lost cats are returned successfully to owners every year.
United Kingdom Cat Statistics
80. 26% of all homes in the UK have a cat. This is up from pre-Covid19 levels of 23%. (Source: Cats.org.uk)
81. 7% of cat owners surveyed said they got a cat during the pandemic. (Source: Cats.org.uk)
82. 7% also adopted a stray. (Source: Cats.org.uk)
83. There are an estimated 11 million cats in the UK. (Source: Cats.org.uk)
84. Each cat home has an average of 1.5 cats (less than the US) (Source: Cats.org.uk)
85. 52% of pet owners consider their cat to be their best friend. 40% of people got a pet as they wanted to improve their mental health. (Source: YouGov)
86. About 70% of UK cat owners say their cat is up to date with all inoculations and vaccinations.
87. Slightly fewer young cats were neutered during the pandemic. At 86%, that could be accounted for by the quarantine and lockdown phases of the pandemic response.
88. About 70% of domestic cats are microchipped, helping to prevent cats from being lost.
Being a cat person isn’t always easy.
89. 73% of cat owners think there are negative stereotypes of cat people. However, 80% of cat owners do not believe that those stereotypes apply to them. (Source: Cat Person)
90. Cat owners are nearly four times as likely as the average person to work in a creative field (Source: Mars Petcare)
91. 80% of cat owners think the US culture caters more to dog people than cat people. (Source: Mars Petcare)
92. More than half of cat owners have bought products for their cats that were meant for small dogs. (Source: Cat Person)
93. 23% of cat owners have shared their innermost feelings and thoughts with their cat. (Source: Mars Petcare)
94. 70% of cat owners credit their pets with helping them to reduce their stress levels (Source: Mars Petcare)
Diet and Health
95. Vets think 44% of cats they see are overweight. Owners have a slightly more optimistic view – only 31% think their cats are overweight. About 35% of owners actually think their cats are underweight.
World Cat Statistics
96. According to stats from WorldAtlas, Germany has the most prolific cat ownership numbers in Europe, with an estimated 23% of households owning cats. It therefore also has the most cats of all countries in Western Europe, with about 14 million cats. France and the UK follow closely.
97. Istanbul has a wonderfully progressive policy for stray dogs and cats. The city regularly tags and neuters strays and releases them again to live in peace. An estimated 125 000 cats roam the streets in Istanbul, fed by locals and mostly perfectly healthy. The city is affectionately called Catstanbul by some locals. (Source: legalnomads.com)
98. Some cats are celebrities. Gli, who lives in the Hagia Sophia, has more than 100 000 Instagram followers.
99. In Romania, the balance between cat and dog owners is even! About 45% of houses have cats, and 45% have dogs.(Source: petsecure.com.au)
100. Nearly 92% of cats in Australia are kept indoors. Of Australians who don’t have pets, 53% report wanting one. More younger people who own pets (20%) have pet insurance. (Source: petsecure.com.au)
101. Cats are far more popular than dogs in Russia. 57% of Russians have a cat living with them. Only 29% of Russians have a dog. (Source: GFK Global Study)
102. 4 out of 10 people in France have a cat (Source: GFK Global Study)
103. Cat Statistics by Country
This list provided by Petsecure.co.au offers some insight into how cat ownership looks across the world.
- USA 74,059,000
- China 53,100,000
- Russia 17,800,000
- Brazil 12,466,000
- France 11,480,000
- Germany 8,200,000
- UK 8,000,000
- Italy 7,400,000
- Ukraine 7,350,000
- Japan 7,300,000
- Poland 5,550,000
- Romania 3,891,000
- Spain 3,385,000
- Argentina 3,000,000
- Netherlands 2,877,000
- Hungary 2,240,000
- Australia 2,200,000
- South Africa 2,000,000
- Belgium 1,884,100
- Czech Republic 1,750,000
Final Thoughts on Cat-Related Statistics
Some of these stats will no doubt surprise and interest you. If you want to know more about our furry friends, check out this fun article on interesting cat behaviors.
In the meantime, it feels assuring to know that cats are second only to dogs when it comes to their popularity with humans. We’ve been friends with them for a long time, and although the jury is out on who exactly the boss is in that relationship, there are no signs of the species parting ways soon.
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