When it comes to one of the world’s most popular pets, what can we learn from the cat statistics we don’t already know? A lot, it turns out. Cats are mysterious creatures that never stop to amaze us.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons humans love them so much. Just when we think we have them all figured out, they do something that takes us completely by surprise. Then again, perhaps it’s their cuddly and lovable nature.
Whatever the reason, cats are fantastic, and these stats prove it!
Top 10 Cat Stats Owners Should Know
- More than 400 million cats live across the globe.
- 42.7 million US households have at least one cat.
- It’s believed that roughly 73 million cats in the US are feral or unowned.
- Approximately 10% of Americans feed community cats.
- Every year, 1.6 million cats get adopted.
- More kittens are adopted than older cats, cat statistics show.
- 43% of owners got their cat from a shelter or rescue.
- The District of Columbia has the lowest rate of cat ownership (16.4%).
- The CFA recognizes 44 pedigree cat breeds.
- Cats can jump 5–6 times their height.
Dive into some of the most fascinating stats about the species and get to know them better!
How Many Cats Are in the World Today?
People love cats. It’s a fact. But, let’s see which countries love them the most.
1. More than 400 million cats live across the globe.
The exact number is difficult to determine, but it’s believed that the entire global cat population counts over 400 million felines. This includes pets, as well as strays and feral cats.
2. At least 373 million cats around the globe are kept as pets.
As we said, people love cats and the number of pet cats in the world proves it. Statistics show there are more than 70 species of cats. Each of them is nurturing to their owner. Their lifespan ranges from 12 to 15 years.
3. Germany has the most cats in the European Union.
The EU loves its cats. Not only has the number of felines gone up in the past decade, but cats are fast becoming Europe’s favorite pet.
At least 23% of German households have a cat, making it the EU country with the largest feline population. According to cat statistics, France is second with 13.5 million cats, and the UK with 7.5 million is ranked third.
4. There are over 125,000 free-roaming cats in Istanbul.
(Legal Nomads, The Denver Channel)
Istanbul is also known as the City of Cats. People there adore cats so much that the city is sometimes referred to as Catstanbul. The streets are lined with water and food bowls, and thousands of cats roam the city freely.
How Many Cats Are in the US?
Cats are the most popular pets in the US, right after dogs. Let’s see some of the most relevant numbers regarding the species.
5. 42.7 million US households have at least one cat.
(HumanePro by HSUS)
The number of cats in the US is incredibly high. Most of these cats (77%) are mixed breed or “mutts,” while only 27% are pure breed. Finally, 87% of these pet cats are spayed or neutered.
6. Every year, 1.6 million cats get adopted.
(ASPCA, Business Wire)
The adoption rates have dropped down by 36% due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even so, the overall number of pet adoptions is on the rise. Statistics estimate that every year, some 1.6 million cats get adopted from animal shelters across the US.
Sadly, the black cat adoption rates are among the lowest ones.
7. Domesticated cats first came to America in the 1600s.
(Alley Cat Allies)
Cats weren’t domesticated in America until settlers arrived from Europe, bringing cats with them on their ships. These cats were “employed” to catch mice and other rodents on ships. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the idea of keeping felines as pets really took off.
Feral Cat Statistics
Feral cats are domestic cats that aren’t owned and usually avoid contact with humans. They aren’t likely to become pets or lap cats.
8. It’s believed that roughly 73 million cats in the US are feral or unowned.
Various surveys, animal shelters stats, and telemetry studies were used to get this number. The actual feral cat population statistics are almost impossible to calculate. Some believe the number of feral and unowned cats can be well over 75 million.
9. Approximately 10% of Americans feed community cats.
(HumanePro by HSUS)
Community cats encompass both feral and stray felines, but feral and stray cats are not the same. A stray cat used to be someone’s pet and is accustomed to human contact, while feral cats were born and raised in the wild and had little contact with humans.
Both types of cats can be domesticated with time and patience.
10. Birds account for 25% of feral and stray cats’ prey.
Cats mostly hunt small mammals, typically mice and other small rodents. However, the cats killing birds statistics show that a quarter or community cats’ prey are birds.
11. Cats are responsible for the decline of 27 mammal species.
Outdoor cats are the biggest human-caused threat to wildlife. So far, they affected the reduction or extinction of 123 bird species on islands, ranging from songbirds to penguins.
Stray and feral cat stats also show that they have contributed to the decline in the number of 25 species of reptiles.
12. A cat can have as many as 12 kittens in a litter.
(International Cat Care, The Spruce Pets)
On average, cats have four kittens in a litter. However, the number ranges from one to 12. Moreover, a cat can give birth to up to five litters a year.
If they aren’t neutered or spayed, a single female cat can produce up to 420 cats in seven years. Multiply this by the number of community cats in the US and think about the final number. There’s a real danger of cities being overrun by strays, as the numbers on feral cat population in the US reveal.
13. Feral cats have a shorter lifespan than house cats.
If a free-roaming cat survives into adulthood, its average lifespan is two years. When the cat is part of a colony or has human taking care of it, it can live up to 10 years.
The average age of cats living in the street is much shorter due to their hard life. They’re threatened by extreme weather conditions, starvation, and diseases like feline AIDS and FIV. Of course, humans are the biggest danger to homeless cats, as data proves.
14. The best method to control the feral cat population is TNR.
TNR stands for Trap Neuter Return. A study showed that the TNR method reduced the outdoor cat population by 66% over 11 years.
Another study examining the long-term effect of TNR concluded that the number of community cats reduced by 55%. It also showed that TNR improved the wellness of stray cats. The method increased their average lifespan and reduced the disease’s prevalence.
Cat Ownership Statistics
We mentioned that cats are the second most popular pets in the States, so let’s see some stats on cat ownership.
15. More households have dogs than cats.
Although more households have dogs than cats, 53% vs. 35.7%, there are more felines in these homes. However, the average number of cats per household is 2 or more, while dog-owning families usually have only one dog.
16. 43% of owners got their cat from a shelter or rescue.
(HumanePro by HSUS)
According to the APPA’s 2019/2020 report, a staggering 21% were taken in as strays. An equal number was acquired from friends and family, while 12% were bought from a store. Only 3% were purchased from a breeder, while 2% were bred at home or owned pets.
Finally, 3% of cats were a gift.
17. Nearly half of all households in Vermont have a cat.
(World Population Review)
Vermont is the state with the highest percentage of cat owners: 44.6% of homes have a cat, the pet ownership statistics by state reveal. It also has a 16.3% gap between homes with cats as opposed to those with dogs.
18. The District of Columbia has the lowest rate of cat ownership (16.4%).
(World Population Review)
Only 16.4% of households in the District of Columbia have a feline companion. The state also has the lowest rate of dog ownership — 22.5%. Moreover, DC also has the lowest rate of pet ownership. According to the statistics, only 38.2% of households have a pet.
19. It’s estimated that the total expenditure on pets reached $99 billion in 2020.
According to the cat statistics from 2020, pet expenses amounted to $99 billion in the same year. This includes costs on food, supplies, and medication, as well as grooming, boarding, and veterinary care.
20. Pet owners spent an average of $228 on cat food and $58 on treats in 2020.
Food costs were the highest, followed by surgical vet visits, for which cat owners spent an average of $214. Routine vet visits cost cat lovers around $160, while they paid $120 on kennel boarding. The least amount was spent on toys, only $31, cat owner statistics suggest.
21. The average monthly cat insurance ranges between $10 and $40.
The plans that cover both accidents and illnesses on average cost $26.90 per month. Of course, cats’ insurance premiums mainly depend on the cat’s age, breed, and state.
22. At 31%, Millennials have the highest rate of pet ownership.
(Pet Food Processing)
Millennials are leading the pet ownership wave. And in the ongoing comparison between dog owners vs. cat owners, statistics show that 82% of them own a dog and 50% at least one cat.
However, Baby Boomers aren’t much behind. 29% of them own a pet, as well as 26% of Gen Xers.
23. Millennials spend on average $745 a year on their pet cat.
Millennials are the age group that spends the most on their pet cats. Gen Xers spend on average $669 while Boomers cash out about $681.
What Millennials spend the most money on is food. They give about $268 a year for tasty food. However, Millennials spend the least on training — only $12 a year.
On the other hand, Gen Xers and Boomers spend way much more on cat food — $334 and $378, respectively, as the cat owner demographics reveal.
24. Some 21% of Americans have spent more money than usual on their pets during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pet industry statistics reveal that both cat and dog owners spoiled their pets more during the pandemic. However, dog owners spent almost twice as much as cat owners. Cat owners spent on average $687 while dog owners hit the $1,201 mark.
25. More than half of pet owners got their pets to keep them company.
Cat stats reveal that pets are our best friends, and 52% of pet owners confirm that. Not only are pets great friends, but they’re also good therapists.
Some 49% of pet owners also claim that they got a pet to provide them a lovely home, while 40% got a pet in hopes of improving their mental health.
Animal Shelter Facts and Statistics
Animal shelters are homes to millions of animals. Cats are one of the most numerous species there, so let’s see some shelter cats statistics.
26. 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters every year.
Half of the cats taken in by animal shelters across the US are adopted. On the other hand, 90,000 felines are returned to their owners.
27. Only 1%–5% of owners find their lost cats in animal shelters.
(Lost Pet Research and Recovery)
Dogs have a higher return rate than cats. Overall, 64% of lost felines were successfully returned to their pet parents. In comparison, 93% of missing dogs have been reunited with their owners.
28. More kittens are adopted than older cats, cat statistics show.
Almost 82% of kittens get adopted, but adoption rates for older cats go down. Once a cat reaches 18 months of age, the interest of pet lovers in them lowers. In fact, only 60% of older cats in animal shelters are rehomed.
29. People adopt black cats too.
It is a common misconception that black cats are unwanted or that they bring bad luck. Black cat adoption statistics show that black cats and kittens account for 31% of all adoptions.
Black cats indeed have higher euthanasia rates than other colors. This may be due to the dominant black color genes, which results in a large number of black cats in animal shelters.
30. Orange tabbies are the most popular color for adoption.
Gray and brown cats make up 20% and 18% of all adopted felines, respectively. Tuxedo cats have the lowest adoption rates, cat adoption statistics reveal.
31. Almost half of all shelter animals are cats.
In some areas of the country, cats can make up two-thirds of all animals entering animal shelters. Around 80% of both cats and dogs in shelters are healthy or suffer from a treatable condition.
32. Approximately 860,000 cats are euthanized every year.
A total of 1.5 million animals in shelters are killed annually due to overcrowding, age, and illness.
According to these statistics, the euthanized cat numbers are higher than that of dogs since more felines are in shelters. Sadly, lost cats are less likely to be returned to their owners than canines, contributing to high euthanasia numbers.
33. Only 10% of the animals in shelters are fixed.
Some estimates indicate that 88% of cats living in the US have been spayed or neutered. But, there’s still an ever-growing cat population resulting from failure to stop cats from breeding.
34. Cats are the second most common victims of animal abuse after dogs.
(Canine Journal, ASPCA)
How many cats are abused each year? Animal abuse is defined as acts of violence and cruelty against animals as well as animal neglect. For example, we know that 21,000 cats are used as subjects for testing cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
35. In the US, 23 million pets live in underserved communities.
The term underserved community refers to places where pet owners do not have access to veterinary care and other services.
36. 8% of the people who give up their cats do so due to allergies.
Judging by the cat allergy statistics, people are twice as likely to be allergic to cats than dogs. Cat allergies are quite common. In fact, three in ten Americans with allergies are allergic to the fur of cats and dogs.
37. 6% of cat owners have surrendered their pets to a shelter due to housing issues.
Another 4% cited personal problems, such as divorce, as the reason they left their cat. 11% said they had to give up their feline because they had too many animals in their household.
How Many Breeds of Cats Are There?
Even though there are millions of cats, there are less than 50 cat breeds. Read on to see the most interesting facts on them.
38. The CFA recognizes 44 pedigree cat breeds.
(Hill’s Pet Nutrition)
It is difficult to determine how many cat breeds there are due to different classification methods. Also, new breeds are constantly being developed.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the biggest cat registry in the world, recognizes 44 cat breeds. But, the International Cat Association—recognizes 71 different breeds.
39. The Abyssinian is the best cat breed for households with dogs.
The data on cat population reveals that over 80 million US households own at least one pet. So, if you’re looking for a playmate for your dog, the Abyssinian is the right choice. A playful and social feline, the Abyssinian loves spending time with other cats and dogs.
40. Maine Coon cats can weigh up to 25 lbs.
Maine Coon cats are the biggest pedigreed cats, growing to 40 inches long. They are an all-American cat originating from the state of Maine. The breed of cat can live between 9 to 15 years.
How Long Can Cats Live For?
Cats deserve to live forever. Sadly, they don’t. Here are a couple of facts on their lifespan.
41. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 15 years.
Many factors influence how long a cat can live, including its environment, care, and health. Another important factor is whether the cat has been neutered or not. Sterilization can protect the feline from diseases and thus prolong its life.
42. The oldest cat lived for 38 years and 3 days.
The world cat population can only envy Creme Puff from Austin, Texas, who holds the longest-lived cat record.
Statistics reveal that mixed breeds tend to have longer lifespans than purebred felines. Their mixed genes help them fight disease better.
43. 1 out of 10 cats across the globe will be affected by heart disease.
(Pet Health Network, Traditions Veterinary Services)
Symptoms of cardiovascular conditions among felines can include lethargy and shortness of breath.
However, often there are cases of sudden onset heart disease, which can immediately end your pet’s life. Cat statistics for 2021 reveal that heart disease is the leading cause of death among felines.
44. A senior cat is defined as one who is over 11 years old.
(Hill’s Pet Nutrition)
Like humans, the rule that you’re only as old as you feel also applies to cats. Some cats can show signs of aging at 10, while others can be mobile and spry at 14.
Interesting Stats on Cat Behavior
Cats are fun to watch and play with, and everyone loves them. Here are some interesting facts and stats to share with your friends.
45. The gestation period for a cat is 63–67 days.
Sometimes it can be shorter, around 61 days, or as long as 72 days. The average litter size for cats is four kittens. Although, theoretically, they can have as many as 12. The biggest litter ever recorded is 19 kittens, 15 of which survived.
46. Cats can jump 5–6 times their height.
This means that if the average cat’s height is 10″, it can jump as high as 50″–60″. Depending on the length of its hind legs, body mass, and mobility, cats can jump to a height of almost 6′ 7″.
But how high can a cat jump, really? If it has the right motivation, it can reach as high as eight times its size.
47. The longest recorded horizontal leap was 7 feet.
Waffle, the Warrior Cat, is even in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest distance jumped by a feline.
48. 89% of cat owners who sleep with their pets are satisfied with their sleep.
(Apartment Therapy, CPAP)
Cuddling with pets isn’t only cute, but it also improves our sleep. Moreover, 76% of people who sleep with their pets feel loved, 68% feel comfortable, and 61% feel connected.
When it comes to dogs vs. cats statistics, cat owners are the ones to share a blanket or a pillow with their pet more often.
49. Felines spend 5 hours a day grooming themselves.
(SPCA, Hill’s Pet Nutrition)
Cats spend almost half of their waking hours grooming and cleaning themselves. Grooming is a way for your pet to regulate body heat, improve circulation, eliminate infections, and prevent them from coughing up furballs.
50. Declawing a cat can cost the owner up to $450.
Cats love to sharpen their claws, especially on your furniture. If this happens in your home, you might be asking, how much does it cost to declaw a cat?
Laser methods of declawing costs between $250 and $450, while conventional methods can range between $100 and $250, depending on the vet. Overnight stays and pre-procedure testing are also added to the cost.
51. Almost a quarter of US domestic cats have been declawed.
Estimates show that 20% to 25% of cats living in US households have been declawed. The process includes cutting the bones the claws grow from with a scalpel or laser.
While some oppose this procedure, cat owner demographics reveal that 55% of US cat owners think declawing is an acceptable practice.
52. 33% of declawed cats exhibited behavior problems.
(Little Big Cat)
One study examined cat behavior over five years after the cat had been declawed. Researchers concluded that many cats bit their owners or soiled the house after the declawing procedure.
Another study revealed that 55% of declawed cats were sent to the vet due to behavioral problems.
53. How long are cats in heat?
This period can last from 3 to 14 days. However, it generally goes on for one week. For cats that live in the Northern Hemisphere, the typical period when they can go into heat is from winter to fall, i.e., between February and October.
54. How many hours a day do cats sleep?
Cats spend almost two-thirds of their lives sleeping, usually snoozing for an average of 15 hours a day. Kittens and older cats sleep longer, sometimes for up to 20 hours a day. The primary reason they sleep so much is energy conservation.
55. How long can a cat go without water?
The short answer is for three days. But keep in mind, a cat’s body is 75% water, so it’s crucial they stay hydrated. It might last longer depending on its health and environment.
Sometimes it can get water from food, and in that case, it could live up to four days without a water source.
56. How long can a cat go without food?
The answer is fourteen days if the cat is healthy. Without food, the feline will start to use its fat stores for energy.
Contrary to popular belief, obese cats cannot survive without food for longer than other cats. In fact, fat cats who don’t have access to food are more likely to develop hepatic Lipidosis and die in 2–10 days.
57. How popular are cats on the Internet?
When it comes to the internet cat population in the world, statistics clearly show their ruthless dominance. CNN reported that as of 2015, there are approximately 6.5 billion cat pictures on the Internet—nearly one for every person on Earth.
More than 2 million cat videos were uploaded on YouTube, which gathered over 25 billion views combined. Their average of 12,000 views per video is the highest of any YouTube category.
58. What percentage of cat owners are female?
While waiting for some new data, we can only reflect on the numbers from a couple of years ago. As Mintel reports, men are more likely to own a cat and Millennials’ ownership peaks.
The numbers report that 37% of men own a cat compared to 33% of women, breaking the stereotype of the crazy cat lady.
59. How many cats are killed each year?
As we mentioned, approximately 860,000 cats are euthanized every year. Unfortunately, this happens due to overcrowding, illness, or old age. Shelters euthanize more cats than dogs simply because there are more cats in the shelters.
60. How many cats does the average person have?
The average pet owner has two cats. The data shows that more than a third of households in the US have at least one cat. At the same time, more than half of them have two or more cats.
61. What percentage of households have cats?
Surveys show that 35.7% of American households have at least one cat. That means that more than 42 million households have a feline pet.
The Bottom Line
There’s a reason the cat statistics show that felines are one of the most popular pets in the world. From ruling the Internet to running the house, cats have managed to capture the hearts of everyone who comes into contact with them.
- Alley Cat Allies
- Apartment Therapy
- Business Wire
- Canine Journal
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition
- HumanePro by HSUS
- HumanePro by HSUS
- International Cat Care
- Legal Nomads
- Little Big Cat
- Lost Pet Research and Recovery
- National Today
- Pet Food Processing
- Pet Health Network
- Psychology Today
- Research Gate
- The Denver Channel
- The Spruce Pets
- Traditions Veterinary Services
- World Population Review