By Jennifer Copley (last updated 4 April 2011)
There are approximately 220 million domestic cats in the world, according to the International Federation for Animal Health Europe (IFAH).
Total estimated numbers of domestic cats in top cat-owning countries and regions are as follows (figures have been rounded to the nearest million plus one decimal place):
- Cats in the USA: 93.6 million owned cats according to the Humane Society of the United States (plus 60 to 100 million ferals, according to Stray Pet Advocacy)
- Cats in Europe: 60 million pet cats according to the European Pet Food Industry Federation
- Cats in China: 58 million according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “Pet Food Update” (2007)
- Cats in Australia: More than 18 million ferals according to the New South Wales Game Council plus 2.65 million owned cats according to Wildlife Extra
- Cats in Russia: 17.8 million according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “Consumer Trends: Pet Food in Russia” (2009)
- Cats in Brazil: 11 million according to ExportAmerica
- Cats in the United Kingdom: 10 million according to BBC News (more than 1 million of these are ferals, according to the RSPCA)
- Cats in France: 10 million according to IFAH
- Cats in Japan: 10 million according to the Japan Pet Food Association, 2009 (cited in JapanVisitor)
- Cats in Germany: 8 million according to IFAH
- Cats in Canada: 7.9 million according to a 2007 Ipsos-Reid survey cited in BC Nature (8.5 million according to the Nova Scotia SPCA – this number may include ferals)
- Cats in Italy: 7.5 million owned cats according to Dundon et al. (2010), “Serologic Evidence of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Infection in Dogs, Italy“; 9.4 million according to Maps of the World (the latter number may include ferals)
- Cats in the Ukraine: 7.4 million according to Maps of the World
- Cats in Poland: 6 million according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pet Food Update (2007)
- Cats in India: 3.9 million (figure extrapolated using a combination of Dr. Sands’ cat-to-human ratios from Cats:500 Questions Answered and CIA population statistics)
- Cats in the Netherlands: 3 million according to B.B. Chomel (2010), “Zoonosis in the Bedroom,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Cats in Spain: 2.8 million (figure extrapolated using a combination of Dr. Sands’ cat-to-human ratios and CIA population statistics)
- Cats in Belgium: 1.7 million according to Ian Traynor, “Belgium Plans to Neuter Most Cats as the Feline Population Explodes,” The Guardian (3 September 2010)
- Cats in Mexico: Approximately 13.5 million, according to the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development Trends in the U.S. Pet Industry (2003)
- Cats in New Zealand: Up to 2 million, according to the New Zealand Government Department of Conservation
- Cats in South Africa: Merial puts the current number at 2 million; a nonprofit organization called CatPals estimates that there are an additional 7 million ferals
Unfortunately, there aren’t good statistics available for every country. I’ll try to add stats for more countries and update them for the countries above as new numbers become available.
Ratios of Cats to People
Here are some cat-to-human ratios for a number of locations (provided by Dr. David Sands, Cats:500 Questions Answered, 2006):
- World – 1:34
- Austria – 1:1
- Europe, USA – 1:4
- Canada, the Netherlands 1:7
- Britain – 1:10
- China – 1:28
- India and Taiwan – 1:500
If you have any recent, reliable stats that you’d like to add to this list, please contact me. I’d also be happy to hear from you if you have links to free or low-cost spay-neuter clinics in countries not listed in the sidebar to the right that I could add to the directory.
See Free and Low-Cost Spay-Neuter Clinics for affordable pet population control options.
For more cat articles, see the main Cats page.