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How Many Cats Are There? (US & Worldwide Statistics 2023)

two ragdolls cats lying on the floor at home

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

Cats are simply the best! We love owning them and allowing them to worm their way into our hearts and our homes. We also love watching hilarious videos of our gorgeous feline friends. So, we know our cats are super popular all over the world, but exactly how popular are they?

We researched and discovered 16 statistics all about our beloved cats. We cover how many kitties are owned in North America and Europe, as well as around the entire world. We also shared other interesting tidbits of information — you can never learn too much about cats! The statistics are grouped into the following categories:

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Top 16 Worldwide Cat Statistics

  1. In 2018, 373 million cats were kept as pets around the world.
  2. In 2020, 8.1 million cats were owned as pets in Canada.
  3. 31% of Canadian households have at least one pet cat.
  4. In 2021, 45.3 million U.S. households owned at least one cat.
  5. In 2016, Vermont was the American state that owned the most cats at 45%.
  6. It’s estimated that there are approximately 32 million feral cats in the U.S.
  7. The most popular American breed of cat in 2020 is the Ragdoll.
  8. There were 110,148,000 cats in European households in 2020.
  9. For the country that owns more cats than any other country in the world, Russia holds the record at 59% cat ownership.
  10. Russia has the most cats in Europe, with 22,750,000 in 2020.
  11. 47% of Romanian households own at least one cat.
  12. The highest population of cats in the U.K. goes to southeast England, with 802,000 cats in households.
  13. 2 million cats are usually brought into U.S. animal shelters each year.
  14. In 2019, 27% of cats adopted from animal shelters were strays.
  15. It’s estimated that approximately 2.1 million cats are adopted every year.
  16. It’s estimated that approximately 530,000 cats are euthanized each year.
WORLDWIDE_CAT_STATISTICS
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How Many Cats Are There in the World?

1. In 2018, 373 million cats were kept as pets around the world.

(Statista)

470 million dogs were kept as pets at this time, so they vastly outnumbered the cats in 2018.

owner with her cat at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

North American Cat Statistics

2. In 2020, 8.1 million cats were owned as pets in Canada.

(CAHI)

It’s interesting to note that pet cats outnumbered the dogs in Canada. There were 7.7 million pet dogs in 2020.


3. 31% of Canadian households have at least one pet cat.

(Abacus Data)

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in Canada, like most other countries. About 56% of Canadians stated that they own at least one of these pets.

cat sleeping in owner's arms
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

4. In 2021, 45.3 million U.S. households owned at least one cat.

(APPA)

Unlike Canada, dogs are the most popular pets in the United States. There were 69 million American households that owned dogs in 2021 compared to 45.3 million households with cats. 26% of these cats were adopted from animal shelters.


5. In 2016, Vermont was the American state that owned the most cats at 45%.

(AVMA)

After Vermont, Maine comes in at 44% households with pet cats, and Indiana and West Virginia tied at 38%. It’s been said that the colder the state, the more likely that the cats start to outnumber the dogs.

cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock

6. It’s estimated that there are approximately 32 million feral cats in the U.S.

(Feline Research)

No one really knows exactly how many feral cats there are, as it’s nearly impossible to accurately obtain the numbers, but 32 million is one estimate. It’s also estimated that 76% of feral cats live in urban areas and cities.


7. The most popular American breed of cat in 2020 is the Ragdoll.

(CFA)

The Ragdoll was the most popular cat breed in 2020. This is also the second year in a row for the Ragdoll to receive this honor. The second most popular breed is the Exotic, and the Maine Coon comes in as the third most popular.

ragdoll-cat-sitting-on-a-climbing-frame_izmargad_Shutterstock
Image Credit: izmargad, Shutterstock

European Cat Statistics

8. There were 110,148,000 cats in European households in 2020.

(Statista)

In 2010, there were 84,705,000 pet cats in Europe, so 25,443,000 more cats became pets over 10 years. There were 90 million pet dogs in 2020, so like Canada, cats outnumber dogs in European households.


9. For the country that owns more cats than any other country in the world, Russia holds the record at 59% cat ownership.

(Quartz)

While Russia tops the cat ownership charts, Ukraine comes in second at 49%, and the United States is third with 43% cat owners.

young woman with ragdoll cat on couch
Image Credit: rock-the-stock, Shutterstock

10. Russia has the most cats in Europe, with 22,750,000 in 2020.

(FEDIAF)

Since Russia has the most cats in the world, it should come as no surprise that it has the most cats in Europe. Followed by Russia is Germany, with 15,700,000 cats, and France a close third, with 15,100,000 kitties.


11. 47% of Romanian households own at least one cat.

(FEDIAF)

Latvia comes in second place with 38% of households owning at least one cat, and Hungary is third with 34% of households.

Cat welcomes his owner at home
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

12. The highest population of cats in the U.K. goes to southeast England with 802,000 cats in households.

(PFMA)

Southeast England also had 1,100,000 cats in the entire region, which was the highest population of cats in 2019. Northwest England came in second with 543,000 households owning cats.


Shelter Cat Statistics

13. 2 million cats are usually brought into U.S. animal shelters each year.

(ASPCA)

These numbers are actually down because the number of pets taken into animal shelters has declined since 2011. In 2011, 7.2 million animals were brought to shelters in the U.S., whereas it was 6.3 million in 2019.

kittens in a cage of a shelter
Image Credit: Okssi, Shuttestock

14. In 2019, 27% of cats adopted from animal shelters were strays.

(ASPCA)

In 2012, the number of cats adopted as strays was 35%, so the number of strays was lower 7 years before.


15. It’s estimated that approximately 2.1 million cats are adopted every year.

(ASPCA)

Overall, 4.1 million pets are adopted each year, with about 2 million of these animals being dogs. This also means that more cats are being adopted than dogs.

woman smiling by cage adoption
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

16. It’s estimated that approximately 530,000 cats are euthanized each year.

(ASPCA)

The unfortunate aspect of animal shelters is that animals are euthanized there. All told, 920,000 animals are put to sleep in U.S. animal shelters each year, and cats make up more than half of this. The good news is these numbers have decreased since 2011, when 2.6 million animals were euthanized.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Ownership

What age group tends to own the most cats?

Millennials (the age group born between 1981 and 1996) own the most pets at 31%. Of these pets, 50% are typically cats, but Millennials also seem to like their dogs, with 82% dog ownership. (Pet Food Processing)

What age group most treat their pets as fur babies?

In 2020, 80% of the Gen X age group (people born 1965 to 1976) treated their pets like fur babies. Millennials came in a close second, with 75% feeling this way. (Statista)

How much do American cat owners spend on their cats?

In 2020, the average American cat owner spent approximately $687 on their cats. The most significant expense was (unsurprisingly) food, at an average of $329 spent. (Statista)

cat owner opening gifts
Image Credit: Irina Gutyryak, Shutterstock

How many people brought home cats during the pandemic?

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, 14% of cat owners brought home a cat through an animal shelter or rescue organization. 6% of these people were first-time pet owners. (Statista)

How many cats are adopted from U.S. animal shelters?

From 2019 to 2020, 42.7 million cats were owned by Americans, which works out to 34% of the U.S. population. Out of these cats, 43% were adopted from animal shelters and rescues. (Humane Society)

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Conclusion

We know how popular dogs are, but cats are right up there with them! In fact, they seem to be even more popular in certain parts of the world, like Canada and Europe.

We hope these statistics might have answered any questions that you might have had or just given you more insight into our feline friends. These numbers only highlight how important our cats are to us, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

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Featured Image Credit: xixicatphotos, Shutterstock

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