When it comes to one of the world’s most popular pets, what can we learn from the cat statistics that we don’t already know? A lot, it turns out. Cats are mysterious creatures that never cease 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 awesome, and these stats prove it!

The Top 10 Cat Stats Owners Should Know

  • It’s estimated that there are up to 600 million cats living across the globe.
  • The US has the most cats in the world.
  • There are 94.2 million cats living in US households.
  • It’s believed that there are 58 million feral cats in the US.
  • 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters every year. 
  • Approximately 860,000 cats are euthanized every year. 
  • The CFA recognizes 44 pedigreed cat breeds.
  • The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 15 years.
  • Cats spend almost two-thirds of their lives sleeping.
  • Cats are responsible for the decline of 27 mammal species.

How Many Cats Are in the World Today?

1. There are around 600 million cats living across the globe.


The exact number is difficult to determine, but it’s believed that the entire global cat population is somewhere between 200 and 600 million. This includes pets, as well as strays and feral cats.

2. The US has the most cats in the world.


The United States is followed by China, which has a cat population of 53 million. According to global cat statistics, Russia, where 12.75 million cats live, is third on the list. Most of the cats in Russia are strays that have been adopted as pets.

3. Germany has the most cats in Europe.


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. There are 14.5 million cats in Germany, making it the EU country with the largest feline population. According to cat statistics from 2018, France is second with 13.5 million cats, and the UK with 7.5 million is ranked third.

4. Japan is number 10 on the list of countries with the most cats. 

(WorldAtlas, Hisgo) 

There are 7.25 million cats in Japan. This country is heaven for felines. The most popular place is Aoshima, also called Cat Island, where there are 120 cats but only 15 to 20 residents. 

How Many Cats Are in the US?

5. There are 94.2 million cats living in US households.


Comparing the number of cats in American homes from 2000 to 2017, the highest recorded number of cats in US households was in 2013. It’s estimated that there were 95.6 million felines in US households that year. 

6. It’s believed that there are 58 million feral cats in the US.

(Wildlife Removal) 

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 stray cats can be as high as 75 million.

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

8. 10% to 12% of Americans feed community cats.


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 have little contact with humans. Both types of cats can be domesticated with time and patience. 

(American Bird Conservatory) 

In the case of cats killing birds, statistics indicate that around 2.4 billion birds are killed by outdoor cats a year. In addition, around 12.3 billion small mammals, such as mice and other small rodents, are said to be killed by community felines. 

10. Cats are responsible for the decline of 27 mammal species. 


Outdoor cats are believed to be the biggest human-caused threat to wildlife, impacting 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.

11. A cat can have as many as 12 kittens in just one year.

(One Green Planet) 

If they aren’t neutered or sprayed, one female cat and her offspring can produce up to 420,000 more cats in seven years. Multiplied this by the number of community cats in the US, and there’s a real danger of cities being overrun by strays, these feral cat reproduction statistics reveal.

12. 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 a human taking care of it, it can live up to 10 years. Community cats have a hard life and thus a shorter lifespan. 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, statistics show.

13. 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 the course of 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 by increasing their average lifespan and reducing the prevalence of disease.

Cat Ownership Statistics

14. Every one in three US households has a cat.

(WorldAtlas, Insurance Information Institute) 

The current pet statistics gathered by the Insurance Information Institute is pretty feline friendly – close to 47.1 million households in the US have at least one cat.

15. More households have dogs than cats.

(WorldAtlas, The Spruce Pets) 

Although more households have dogs instead of cats, 36.5% vs. 30.4%, there are more felines in these homes. In fact, 51% of cat-owning families have 2 or more cats. 


Are dogs or cats more popular? Cats rank second based on sheer number, after freshwater fish. Dogs, on the other hand, are third with 89.7 million canines living in American homes.

17. 41% of owners got their cat from a friend or neighbor.


18% were adopted from an animal shelter, while 22% of cats were taken in as strays. Only 2% of cats were bought from a pet store, and another 2% of feline fans got their furry companion from a breeder. 

18. Nearly half of all households in Vermont have a cat.


Vermont is the state with the highest percentage of cat owners: 49.5% of homes have a cat, the pet ownership statistics by state reveal. It also has a 12% gap between homes with cats as opposed to those with dogs, the largest gap in all 50 states. 

19. Utah has the lowest rate of cat ownership. 

(24/7 Wall St.) 

Only 24.6% of households in Utah have a feline companion. There are about 455,000 cats living in Utah, also making it the 12th lowest state in terms of overall cat population.

20. People living in the capital are not pet lovers.

(Business Insider) 

Only 13% of households in Washington DC have a dog. Meanwhile, as few as 12% have a cat, pet ownership statistics by zip code show. 

21. New England has the most cat-owning households per capita. 

(24/7 Wall St.) 

35% of households in New England have at least one cat. The South Atlantic region has the lowest percentage of feline-owning homes, at 28.5%. 

22. There are more cats than dogs in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

(Washington Post) 

Dogs are more popular in the South and Southwest, especially in Arkansas where the dog to cat ratio is 1.35 to 1, some of the cats vs. dogs statistics indicate. On the other hand, in Massachusetts there are 1.87 cats per dog. 

23. Americans don’t have a cat gender preference. 

(The Spruce Pets) 

There is only a slight difference in the number of female vs. male cats. Estimates show that 51% of the cats living in US homes are female while 49% are male. 

24. The total expenditure on pets is expected to reach $75.38 billion by the end of 2019. 


According to the pet ownership statistics from 2018, expenses on pets amounted to $72.56 billion last year. This includes costs on food, supplies, and medication, as well as grooming, boarding, and veterinary care. 

25. Pet owners spent an average of $228 on cat food in a year.


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 this year. The least amount was spent on toys, only $31, cat owner statistics suggest.

26. Millennials have the highest rate of pet ownership. 

(Petfood Industry) 

35% of all pet owners in the US are millennials. Baby boomers account for 32%, while the remaining age groups make up 33% of cat and dog owners. 

27. In fact, 7 in 10 millennials have a pet.

(Pet Business)

36% of millennials have a cat, while 56% of them own a dog. And in the ongoing comparison between dog owners vs. cat owners, statistics indicate that collectively as a group, millennials spend more on dogs than they do on felines. Surveys show that this age group spends $67 billion a year on their dogs and $33.5 billion on their cats. 

28. 66% of US pet owners define their pet as their “best friend.”

(Statista, The Nose Print) 

25% of respondents in a 2016 survey said they consider their pet to be like a therapist. Not surprising, as 75% of owners state that their fur-iend can sense when they’re sad and helps them feel better. 

Animal Shelter Facts and Statistics

29. 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters every year. 


Half of the cats taken in by animal shelters across the US are adopted, while 90,000 felines are returned to their owners. 

30. Only 2% of owners find their lost cats in animal shelters.


Dogs have a higher return rate than cats. Overall, 75% of lost felines were successfully returned to their pet parents, while 93% of missing dogs have been reunited with their owners.

31. 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. 

32. 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. It’s true that black cats have higher euthanasia rates than other colors, but this may be due to the dominant black color genes, which results in a large number of black cats in animal shelters. 


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. 

34. Almost half of all shelter animals are cats. 


In certain regions of the country, cats can even 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. 

35. 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 cat euthanasia statistics, the number of euthanized cats is higher than that of dogs since there are more felines in shelters, and lost cats are less likely to be returned to their owners than canines. 

36. Only 10% of the animals in shelters are fixed.

(Psychology Today) 

Although some estimates indicate that 88% of cats living in the US have been spayed or neutered, there’s still an ever-growing cat population resulting from failure to properly stop cats from breeding.

37. 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 do know that 21,000 cats are used as subjects for the testing of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. 

38. 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.

39. 8% of the people who give up their cats do so due to allergies.

(Petfinder, AAFA) 

Judging by the cat allergy statistics, people are twice as likely to be allergic to cats than they are to dogs. Cat allergies are quite common. In fact, three in ten Americans with allergies are allergic to the fur of cats and dogs.

40. 6% of cat owners have surrendered their pet 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?

41. The CFA recognizes 44 pedigree cat breeds.

(Hill’s Pet Nutrition) 

It is difficult to determine just how many cat breeds there are due to different classification methods, as well as the fact that new breeds are constantly being developed. And while the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 44 cat breeds, the biggest cat registry in the world—the International Cat Association—recognizes 71 different breeds.

42. The Abyssinian is the best cat breed for households with dogs.

(Catalogical, Gallup) 

17% of US households own both a dog and a cat. A helpful note for soon-to-be cat owners, statistics show that if you’re looking for a playmate for Fido, the Abyssinian is the right choice. A playful and social feline, the Abyssinian loves spending time with other cats and dogs. 

43. Maine Coon cats can weigh up to 25 lbs.

(FactRetriever, CatTime) 

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. This breed of cat can live between 9 to 15 years.

How Long Can Cats Live For?

44. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 15 years.

(petMD, Catster)

There are a lot of factors that 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, as sterilization can protect the feline from diseases and thus prolong its life.

45. The oldest cat lived for 38 years and 3 days.


Creme Puff from Austin, Texas, holds the record for the longest-lived cat. In the case of long-living cats, statistics reveal that mixed breeds tend to have longer lifespans than purebred felines because their mixed genes help them fight disease better.

46. 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.

47. 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 death statistics reveal that heart disease is the leading cause of death among felines. 

Some Fun Stats on Cat Behavior

48. The gestation period for a cat is between 63 and 67 days. 

(Purina, FactRetriever) 

Sometimes it can be shorter, around 61 days, or as long as 72 days. Cats usually have four kittens in a litter, although theoretically, they can have as many as 12. The biggest litter ever recorded is 19 kittens, 15 of which survived.

49. Cats can jump 5–6 times their height. 


This means that if the average cat is 10″ tall, 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. 

50. 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.

51. 65% of household cats sleep with their owners.

(Psychology Today) 

Significantly more cats are allowed to sleep in their owner’s bed, as opposed to 39% of dogs. In terms of furniture, 70% of felines have permission to lie on sofas. However, when still comparing dogs vs. cats, statistics show that only 40% of canines enjoy the same rights. 

52. 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.

53. 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. 

54. Almost a quarter of US domestic cats have been declawed.  


Estimates show that 20% to 25% of cats living in US households have had the bones their claws grow from cut with a scalpel or laser. While some oppose this procedure, cat declawing statistics from 2011 indicate that 55% of US cat owners think declawing is an acceptable practice.

55. 33% of declawed cats exhibited behavior problems.

(Little Big Cat) 

A study that examined cat behavior over five years after the cat had been declawed concluded that a high percentage of 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.


56. How long are cats in heat?

(The Spruce Pets)

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. 

57. 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.

58. How long can a cat go without water? 


The short answer is three days. But keep in mind, a cat’s body is 75% water, so it’s crucial that it 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. 

59. 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.

(CNN, The Conversation)

When it comes to cats on the Internet, statistics clearly show their ruthless dominance. CNN reported that in 2015 there were approximately 6.5 billion cat pictures on the Internet—nearly one for every person on Earth. Also in 2015, there were more than 2 million cat videos 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.

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 simply running the house, cats have managed to capture the hearts of everyone who comes into contact with them. 


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