Cat Statistics

Curious Cat
Curious Cat

APPA National Pet Owners Survey

According to the APPA National Pet Owners Survey (2017/2018)*:

    • 38% of US homes have at least one cat, and 32% have both cats and dogs.
    • The average number of felines in cat households is 2.
    • The highest percentage of cat owners are Millennials (35%), followed by Baby Boomers (32%), Generation X (26%), and the Builders Generation (those in their 70s and 80s) (6%).
    • 37% of cats were adopted from shelters, humane associations, or rescue groups; 32% were adopted as strays; 26% from friends or relatives; 11% were bought from pet stores; 6% from private sellers; 6% were kittens born to cats living in the household; 4% from breeders; 3% from veterinarians; 3% from unknown sources; and 2% were given as gifts (percentages add up to more than 100%, likely because many respondents have more than one cat obtained from different sources).
    • 27% of cat owners have fitted their pets with electronic tracking devices.
    • Younger cat owners are more likely to purchase pet insurance than older owners.
    • In 2016, 80% of owners give their cats treats, up from 73% in 2012.
    • 67% had purchased gifts for their cats, most often for Christmas (38%), their pet’s birthday (17%), or just because (42%). Some cats were also given gifts for good behaviour (6%), Valentine’s Day (5%), Halloween (4%), when owners go on vacation (3%), Easter (2%), and Hanukkah (1%).
    • 5% of cat owners hold birthday parties for their pets.

The GFK Global Pet Ownership Survey

A GfK pet ownership study encompassing 22 nations found that:

    • 23% of those surveyed had cats (25% of women and 22% of men).
    • Nations with the highest rates of cat ownership include Russia (57%), France (41%), the United States (39%), Canada (35%), Italy (34%), Belgium (33%), Poland (32%), Argentina (32%), Australia (29%), Germany (29%), Sweden (28%), Brazil (28%), the UK (27%), the Netherlands (26%), and the Czech Republic (26%).
    • Nations with cat ownership rates below 25% include Mexico (24%), Spain (23%), Turkey (15%), Japan (14%), China (10%), Hong Kong (10%), and South Korea (6%).

Cat Adoption and Euthanasia Statistics

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy Shelter Statistics Survey (1994-1997), in 1997:

    • 33.2% of cats entering shelters were submitted by Animal Control
    • 35% were relinquished by owners
    • 31.8% were brought in via other/unknown sources
    • 24.4% of shelter cats were subsequently adopted
    • 2% were eventually returned to their owners
    • 71% were euthanized
    • 2.6% suffered other/unknown fates

Jazzpurr Society for Animal Protection Cat Survey

The Jazzpurr Society for Animal Protection conducted a survey of 224 randomly chosen people in the Windsor, Ontario, area, finding that 26% were cat owners and 76% of them had had their cats fixed. Of those who did not have their cats spayed or neutered, about 1/3 cited expense as a barrier, whereas 17% said that their cats were not allowed outside and an additional 17% said that their cats were too young.

The majority of owners (86%) had had their cats vaccinated, and 67% kept them indoors at all times. However, only 26% had purchased identification for their cats.

Of the 8.6% who had, at one time, given up a cat, many did so because they (the owners) were ill.

Other interesting statistics from the study include the fact that more than 1/3 of respondents (both cat owners and non-owners) had seen stray cats in their area, 10% fed these cats, and 3% had had a neighbour complain about their feeding strays. An overwhelming majority (93%) supported the protection of urban wildlife and 83% believed it was important to protect feral cats as well, while 11% wanted to see them trapped and killed. However, 88% supported the establishment of free spay/neuter clinics.

Lifetime Television Pet Survey

A 2008 Lifetime Television survey of women aged 18 to 49 found that:

    • 87% consider their pets members of the family
    • 59% would risk their lives to save a pet
    • 13%, if stranded on a desert island with just one companion, would choose a pet over a person
    • 28% name their pets as the best listeners they know
    • 12% have sacrificed relationships for their pets
    • 28% put their pets’ needs before their own
    • 49% allow their pets to sleep on their beds

In addition, 66% buy presents for their pets (and 37% have spent over $100 on a pet present). Other pet purchases included:

    • 26% – professional grooming services
    • 22% – organic food
    • 16% – outfits

Despite the sagging economy, 89% of women surveyed planned to spend the same amount or even more on their furry friends in the year to come. While this might sound a little one-sided to those who aren’t “animal people,” in addition to amusing and entertaining their human companions, research has found that pets provide health benefits for the people who live with them, so they do give something back.

Other Cat Statistics

According to the Humane Society of the United States (2009), 87% of cats living in homes in the US have been neutered or spayed.

The Animal Assistance League reports that cat owners purchased $100 million worth of cat treats in 1995 – 15 years prior to that, there was no real market for cat treats. Also, nearly 1/3 of cat owners prominently display pictures of their cats in their homes, and 1 in 10 even carry pictures of their cats in their wallets.

According to the BC SPCA, one unspayed female cat and all of her offspring (assuming 2 litters per year of 3 surviving, fertile offspring) could produce 450,000 cats by the end of 7 years.

For more cat articles, see the main Cats page.

*The findings of studies such as the National Pet Owners Survey have been disputed because they use online questionnaires and those who choose to participate are more likely to be pet owners. The National Pet Owners Survey gives an overall pet ownership rate (cats, dogs, and other domestic pets) of 68% compared to rates between 49% to 57%  in other surveys, according to Bruilliard and Clement, 2019, How many Americans have pets? An investigation of fuzzy statistics, The Washington Post.

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