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Home > Statistics > 10 UK Cat Statistics All Pet Lovers Should Know in 2024

10 UK Cat Statistics All Pet Lovers Should Know in 2024

United Kingdom Cat Facts and Statistics

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Cat lovers are of all ages and come from all countries, including those that make up the UK. If you’re a UK pet lover who’s ever wondered how many other cat-obsessed people inhabit your place of residence and about other feline stats, you’ve come to the right place!

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The 10 UK Cat Statistics

  1. 60% of UK households own at least one pet.
  2. Approximately 12.5 million cats are currently being kept as pets across the UK.
  3. Each UK household owns an average of 1.5 cats.
  4. The majority of owned cats in the UK are mixed-breed cats.
  5. The most popular breed of cat in the UK is the British Shorthair.
  6. The second most popular UK cat breed is the Ragdoll.
  7. A total of 22,071 purebred cats were registered in the UK in 2023.
  8. An estimated 250,000 stray cats are living in cities across the UK.
  9. Over 150,000 cats wind up in UK animal shelters each year.
  10. 24% of new cats acquired were adopted from shelters and rescues.

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UK Cat Ownership

1. 60% of UK households own at least one pet.

(UK Pet Food)

Of these, 29% of households own cats, a bit less than the 36% that own dogs. Dogs and cats are by far the most popular pets in the UK, with indoor birds and domestic fowl next on the list at 3% and 1.6%, respectively.

cat snuggling with owner
Image Credit By: cottonbro, Pexels

2. Approximately 12.5 million cats are currently being kept as pets across the UK.

(UK Pet Food)

12.5 million is a higher number of pet cats than has previously been recorded by this study. After cats, the next highest pet population of indoor birds and domestic fowl clocks in at about 1.5 million and 1.3 million, respectively.


3. Each household owns an average of 1.5 cats.

(Cats Protection)

Based on this stat, it’s clear that many UK cat owners aren’t satisfied with just one feline companion! Having more than one kitty adds to the cost of ownership but can also benefit the cats and their owners.

two ragdolls cats lying on the floor at home
Image Credit: xixicatphotos, Shutterstock

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UK Cat Breeds

4. The majority of owned cats in the UK are mixed-breed cats.

(Cats Protection)

63% of UK cat owners report owning mixed-breed cats. While this is still a majority, there also seems to be a trend toward owning purebreds, as they are in 26% of cat households.


5. The most popular breed of cat in the country is the British Shorthair.

(GCCF)

8,266 British Shorthairs were registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 2023. This represents a 13% increase over the number registered in 2022. British Shorthairs have been the most popular purebred cat in the UK for at least the past 10 years, according to the GCCF registrations.

white british shorthair cat sitting
Image Credit: sitting_Real Moment, Shutterstock

6. The second most popular UK cat breed is the Ragdoll.

(GCCF)

3,556 Ragdoll cats were registered in 2023, a 10% decrease from the year before. This ranking is also consistent, going back at least 10 years, though the overall number has varied. UK cat lovers clearly know which purebred cats are their favourites! The Maine Coon, Siamese, and Burmese round out the top five.


7. A total of 22,071 purebred cats were registered in the UK in 2023.

(GCCF)

The GCCF recognizes a total of 47 different cat breeds. Overall, 2,796 fewer purebred cats were registered in 2023 than in 2022.

Many domestic cats in isolation looking outside of the window and trying to run away
Image By: Pencil case, Shutterstock

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UK Homeless Cat Statistics

8. About 250,000 stray cats are living in cities across the UK.

(PLoS One)

A study from the Public Library of Science estimated the number of stray cats living in UK cities at 250,000. This count focused only on towns and cities, though, meaning there are likely many more cats in rural areas uncounted. That said, there were estimated to be 300,000 farm cats, which are not considered pets.


9. Over 150,000 cats wind up in UK animal shelters each year.

(PLoS One)

Homelessness in cats is a worldwide problem, and the UK is no different. Spaying and neutering remain the best way to help control the cat population.

cats in animal shelter
Image By: Yulia Grigoryeva, Shutterstock

10. 24% of new cats acquired were adopted from shelters and rescues.

(Cats Protection)

Also counting the 17% of cats adopted from friends or family and the 6% found as strays, UK cat lovers did their part to make a dent in the number of homeless pets in 2023.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are common health issues seen in UK cats?

According to the Royal Veterinary College, the most commonly occurring health issue seen in the cats of the UK is gum disease, which impacted 15.23% of cats in the associated study. The other top problems were obesity, dental disease, overgrown nails, flea infestations, and heart murmurs. (RVC)

Do UK cats need to be microchipped?

Yes, they do—at least in England, as of 10 June 2024. Microchipping and database registration are required for all cats once they turn 20 weeks old. As of writing, there isn’t any similar law for the felines of Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. (GOV.UK)

four kittens in a cage in an animal shelter
Image By: Tom Feist, Shutterstock

What is the most expensive cat breed in the UK?

The British Shorthair might be the most popular breed, but they’re definitely not the most expensive. That honour goes to the Lykoi, a genetic mutation of the Domestic Shorthair. They’re also called “Werewolf Cats” due to their big eyes and scraggly appearance. Due to their relatively recent development, they’re quite rare, so each kitten costs £1,300, give or take. (The Scotsman)

How much does it cost to own a cat in the UK?

The minimum monthly expense of owning a feline in the UK is £64. This includes annual vet visits, deworming and other parasite treatments, food, toys, and litter. 

Of course, you’ll also need to get the cat themselves. You might be able to acquire a kitty for free, such as if you take in a stray or adopt one from a relative or neighbour, but you’ll still need to buy supplies for them, such as food and water bowls, toys, a carrier, beds, scratching posts, litter boxes, and veterinary care (including spaying/neutering). After the initial investment, though, your monthly expenses should only vary if your cat gets injured or ill or if you need to replace certain supplies, like their toys, litter box, or bowls. (PDSA)

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Conclusion

With the benefits of cat ownership being known both scientifically and anecdotally, the UK’s kitty lovers are steadfast believers in feline power. We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning these facts and statistics about cats in the UK. If you don’t yet have a feline but are considering it, please remember to do your research first and make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility of owning a pet.

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Featured Image Credit: rock-the-stock, Shutterstock

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