Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Despite the first impression that felines give us, cats are more than the aloof, uninterested personas that they exude. To prove it, we compiled this list of cat statistics filled with facts about cat ownership, feline health, and things that you never knew you needed to know. You’re bound to find something to prove to your dog-loving neighbors how awesome your feline best friend is!
The 15 Cat Statistics
- 85% of cats adopted during COVID-19 are still part of their new families.
- 32% of cat owners in 2021 are millennials.
- 55% of millennials consider their cats their children.
- 3 million U.S. households own cats in 2021.
- The state with the highest percentage of cat owners is Vermont.
- Approximately 3.2 million cats end up in U.S. animal shelters a year.
- About 100,000 cats that enter shelters are returned to their owners.
- The purchase of pet insurance almost doubled among cat owners in 2021.
- Domestic cats can live between 10 and 15 years or more.
- Heart disease is a common cause of sudden death in cats.
- Feral cats produce 80% of the kittens in the U.S. a year.
- There are more than 400 million cats in the world.
- Cats groom themselves for 5 hours a day.
- There are more left-pawed than right-pawed cats.
- Cats have 30 vertebrae.
Overall Cat Ownership Statistics
With millions of cats around the world, there are more than a few surprising facts about owning cats. Here are a few trends about the people who own cats, the generation who favors them best, and the places where felines are even more popular than dogs.
1. 85% of cats adopted during COVID-19 are still part of their new families.
With so many families having more time at home due to COVID-19 quarantines, the increase in pet adoptions led to concern about how long the newly adopted animals would stay in their new homes. Two years down the line, 85% of the cats adopted are still enjoying their new homes! Better still, their new families don’t intend to let them go.
2. 32% of cat owners in 2021 are millennials.
Among all the cat owners in 2021, millennials make up 32% and are the most likely generation to have a feline family member. Baby boomers come in second at 27%, with Gen X close behind at 24%.
3. 55% of millennials consider their cats their children.
Most pet owners consider their furry friends as part of their families. Millennials take this a step further. Not only is this generation more likely to own cats in the first place, but they also see their beloved felines as their children.
4. 3 million U.S. households own cats in 2022.
Although cats aren’t the most popular pet — that honor goes to canines — they’re still incredibly common additions to American households. 45.3 million households own at least one cat, a number that’s recently increased due to COVID-19.
5. The U.S. state with the highest percentage of cat owners is Vermont.
Unlike other places where dog owners outnumber cat owners, Vermont is one place where the cats rule the house. With a 0.70% pet ownership average, 0.45% of the residents who own pets are cat lovers through and through.
Statistics for Cats in U.S. Shelters
The size of the U.S. alone gives cats, both domesticated and feral, plenty of space to roam. With the number of cats on the streets and the ones that families can no longer afford to keep, many felines end up in shelters. It’s no surprise that there are several statistics covering the shelters that take in cats.
6. Approximately 3.2 million cats end up in U.S. animal shelters a year.
Both feral and domesticated cats can find their way into shelters at some point in their lives. In the U.S., strays and abandoned housecats are common arrivals and often become permanent guests. Of the cats that end up in shelters, 2.1 million are eventually adopted.
7. About 100,000 cats who enter shelters are returned to their owners.
Although this number is less than the annual number of cats that find their way into shelters, it’s heartening to know that so many cats find their way home again. It goes to show how important collars and microchips are for our outdoorsy felines.
Cat Health Statistics
Like other pets, cats are our responsibility. Their health depends on us, and keeping them well-fed and loved is our biggest priority as cat owners. Here are a few trends about feline health.
8. The purchase of pet insurance almost doubled among cat owners in 2021.
With the growing number of new cat owners, it’s no surprise that pet insurance is one of the purchases that have increased. It’s good to know that all the newly adopted felines are loved in their new forever homes!
9. Domestic cats can live between 10 and 15 years or more.
While outdoor cats tend to have a lower life expectancy, indoor cats can live for a decade or more, if not longer. There are exceptions to the rule, and some cats can live much longer. Others, housebound or not, might pass away earlier due to age-related diseases or other health issues.
10. Heart disease is a common cause of sudden death in cats.
(Pet Health Network)
Feline cardiomyopathy and feline heartworm are common ailments that don’t always show themselves unless an in-depth physical examination is done on your cat. Even for healthy cats, the onset of these heart conditions can be sudden and fatal.
Feral Cat Statistics
Where stray cats are familiar with people and are often lost or left behind when their families move, feral cats have no trust in humans. They make up the majority of unadoptable cats around the world.
11. Feral cats produce 80% of the kittens in the U.S. a year.
With feral cats being so difficult to pin down due to their wariness of humans, the vast majority aren’t spayed or neutered. In fact, of the 30–40 million community cats — that includes both strays and feral felines — only about 2% are “fixed.” Due to the sheer number of feral cats that can’t be adopted and their kittens, euthanasia rates are incredibly high in areas with a large population of community cats.
Interesting Cat Statistics
While dog owners gloat about their puppies learning all sorts of new tricks, they always forget that cats have quirky personalities too. They’re not, by any means, as shallow as their quiet arrogance first suggests. The following stats will show you why.
12. There are more than 400 million cats in the world.
It’s difficult to be 100% accurate about the number of cats in the world, especially when so many of them are feral. 400 million is still an impressive number, though! 373 million of these cats, or 93%, are kept as pets all over the world.
13. Cats groom themselves for 5 hours a day.
If you think that your human roommate spends too long preening in the bathroom, they’ve still got nothing on your beloved cat. Felines will clean their fur every day for at least 5 hours. This doesn’t include any human help that you give them, so they’ll still be delighted to settle in your lap for a lengthy session with their favorite brush.
14. There are more left-pawed than right-pawed cats.
Like humans, cats have a dominant side that they prefer using. Unlike us humans, though, who are usually right-handed, cats are often lefties or ambidextrous. Out of 100 felines, only 20 (approximately) will use their right paw the most.
15. Cats have 30 vertebrae.
In comparison to cats, humans only have 25 vertebrae. Considering how inflexible some of us are, it’s no wonder that cats manage to fit themselves into the strangest — and smallest — objects with the few extra bones in their spine.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cats
There are many frequently asked questions from new cat owners and people who are just curious about why cats are so popular. These queries range from the simplistic to ongoing debates about the type of people who like cats the most.
Why do cats purr?
Domestic cats purr for various reasons. It’s one of the ways that they show their innermost feelings. They purr when they’re happy, talking to their kittens, or self-medicating to manage pain. Veterinary visits might also prompt a burst of purring as your anxious feline tries to quell their nerves. (PetMD)
Why do cats hate water?
While it may seem like all domestic cats despise water with a passion, some breeds enjoy being near it. Maine Coons are one example.
Most cats dislike water because of how uncomfortable it makes them feel, and it’s easy to see why. Imagine that you’ve left a swimming pool after an afternoon swim — being fully clothed. Your limbs would be heavy, right? It’s the same with cats, and with all their fur, the feeling can’t be a nice one. (Aspen Grove Vet)
Are cat lovers smarter than people who adore dogs?
For pet owners, the debate between cats and dogs is a never-ending one. In the end, it seems that our pet preferences come down to our personalities. While dog owners tend to be more outgoing and gregarious, cat lovers are more reserved and conscientious. If that isn’t enough, cat owners have even scored higher on intelligence quizzes. (HuffPost)
- Related Read: Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs? Here’s What Science Says
How many cats do most people own?
On average, cat owners in the U.S. own an average of 1.8 cats. While the number varies depending on the household and their available space, 25.4% of households own at least one, while other families can have many more. (AVMA)
Why do cats sleep so much?
First and foremost, cats are hunters, and despite their domestication, they’ll always be wild at heart. These wild tendencies show themselves in their playful natures and the hunting of each other, your unsuspecting feet, and their favorite toys.
After a chaotic play session, cats will take a power nap to conserve and restore their energy so they can start their favorite game all over again. (PetMD)
Are cats nocturnal?
Many people believe that cats are the most active at night. But cats are actually crepuscular. This means they’re most active between dusk and dawn. They’ll spend all day snoozing in the sun and then spend their evening getting into mischief. Afterward, they’ll pin down your feet as you sleep, only to wake you up in the morning with more playful antics. (Hill’s Pet)
Although popular among pet owners, cats often fall short of meeting the amount of love that their canine companions receive. To truly understand our feline friends, we need to look beyond their secretive and cautious natures.
As true cat lovers, we know better than to believe that cats are as aloof as they want to appear. These stats should help convince our dog-loving friends that cats are just as lovable and endearing as their canine siblings.
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Featured Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock