30+ Fascinating Cat Ownership Statistics Any Pet Lover Will Enjoy [2022]

If you consider yourself to be a cat person, you’re certainly not alone. Millions of Americans enjoy the companionship of a feline friend, and it’s easy to see why. Their unique personalities are endearing, and they generally require less maintenance than other pets like high-energy dogs. Whether you’re considering adopting a cat or already share your home with a fluffy friend, these interesting statistics about cats and cat owners in the US will be right up your alley.

The Basics of Cat Ownership in the United States

Just how common is cat ownership in the US? Here’s a snapshot of how many pet cats there are in the country and who owns them:

  • Cat ownership is highest in Russia, where 59% of people reportedly own a cat. But the United States is next, at 43%. Close behind are Argentina (41%), Italy (40%), and France (39%). [1]

  • 90.5 million US households own a pet, and 45.3 million of these own a cat. [2]
  • Owning two types of pets is fairly common in the United States. 49% of cat owners say they also own a dog. [3]
  • According to one survey of US pet owners, men and women are equally likely to own a cat. [4]
  • Cat owners are more likely to live in rural areas (37%) than in big cities (20%). [4]
  • Around 4.1 million animals are adopted from shelters in the United States each year. 2.1 million of these are cats. [5]
  • According to the ASPCA, about 27% of pet cats started out as strays, compared to only 6% of dogs. [5]
  • It’s estimated that 3 in 10 people in the US who have allergies are allergic to pets, and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. [6]

Current Trends in US Cat Ownership 

Ever wondered what you have in common with other cat owners? See if you identify with any of the cat ownership trends on this list:

  • According to The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the five most popular cat breeds in the world are the Ragdoll, the Exotic, the Maine Coon, the Persian, and the British Shorthair. [7]
  • One survey of US cat owners shows that the most popular cat names in 2021 were Megan, Disney, Devon, Lukas, and Jolly. [8]
  • Cat owners are four times as likely as dog owners to work in a creative field, according to a survey, and are also more likely to enjoy relaxing hobbies like reading, writing, and gardening. [9]
  • US pet owners love to snuggle up with their furry friends at night. 81% of cat owners say they let their cat sleep on their bed, compared to 73% of dog owners. [10]

The ASPCA reports that 1 in 5 American households acquired a cat or dog during the pandemic. The majority of these (85%) of these still have that pet now, resolving the concern that most pandemic-acquired pet adoptions didn’t last. [11]

Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Cats

Even if you’ve been a cat owner for years, there’s always something new you can learn about your four-legged friend. These are a few of the most unique facts about cats: 

  • Cat remains dating back at least 7,000 years were uncovered on the island of Cyprus. This discovery shows that cats were voluntarily brought to the island as pets, and that cat domestication traces back much farther in time than originally thought. [12]
  • Indoor cats live 15 years on average, compared to 12 years on average for dogs. [13]
  • The cat that holds the record for living the longest is Creme Puff, who lived to the age of 38 years and three days with its owner in Texas. [14]
  • Contrary to popular belief, as many as 20-30% of cats are immune to the effects of catnip. It also doesn’t affect cats younger than six months old. [15]
  • President Biden and the First Lady adopted a cat named Willow in 2022, but she’s not the first feline to have roamed the White House. Presidential cat ownership goes back at least as far as Abraham Lincoln. [16]
  • In a comparison of personality traits, cat owners scored higher than dog owners in the following categories: general intelligence, abstractedness, and self-reliance. [17]

  • While videos of dogs are searched for on the internet more often, videos of cats are more likely to go viral. One expert proposes that this may be because cats are more stoic, making them a blank canvas for humans to project our own thoughts and emotions onto. [18]

How Much It Costs to Own a Cat

While cats typically cost less to own than dogs do, unexpected vet expenses can still arise. Find out just how much it costs to have a cat, and take a look at a few statistics about cat insurance

  • One survey showed that cat owners spend almost half of what dog owners do on their pets each year. [19] 

  • The average annual cost of owning a cat in the US is $687, compared to $1,201 for a dog. [19]
  • A recent study showed that most cat owners fail to take their cat to the veterinarian for regular checkups. It found that 40% of pet cats hadn’t been to the vet within the past year, compared to only 15% of pet dogs. [20]
  • Out of all the insured pets in the United States, most are dogs. Only 17.1% are cats. [21]
  • Unfortunately, uninsured pets can still end up needing expensive medical care. Routine annual care generally costs between $90 and $200 for cats, but emergency or specialty services can cost significantly more. [22]

How You Can Benefit From Owning a Cat

As any cat owner knows, this type of pet can bring you lots of joy—but did you know cat ownership also has real health benefits? Here’s what the science shows:

  • One study reported that current and even former cat owners were found to have a lower risk of death due to heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular disease. [23]
  • Adopting a cat can benefit your kids, too, as a survey of over 2,000 children who were closely bonded with their cats found. The numbers show that these kids were more fit, energetic, attentive, and comfortable with alone time. [25]
  • Another study found that children who grew up in a home with two or more cats or dogs were less likely to develop allergies—including to pet dander, but also to ragweed, dust mites, and grass—later in life. [26]
  • A study of cat owners in Japan found that interaction with and trust in their neighbors was significantly associated with the experience of pet ownership. [24]
  • Finally, the science proves that there’s something to the ongoing global trend of cat videos on the internet: One study found a decrease in negative emotions and an increase in positive emotions in viewers after they watched videos in this genre. [27]

Cats are intelligent creatures that make for lovable and interesting pets. If you’re seeking a new four-legged companion, a cat should be at the top of your list.

Sources

  1. https://www.statista.com/chart/10267/which-countries-have-the-most-cat-owners/ 
  2. https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp 
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/more-than-ever-pets-are-members-of-the-family-300114501.html 
  4. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animals-and-us/202003/the-odd-demography-loving-pets-sex-money-and-race 
  5. https://www.aspca.org/helping-people-pets/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics 
  6. https://www.aafa.org/pet-dog-cat-allergies/ 
  7. https://cfa.org/cfa-news-releases/top-breeds-2020/ 
  8. https://www.newsweek.com/america-most-popular-female-male-cat-names-2021-1652995 
  9. https://www.bettercitiesforpets.com/resource/dog-owners-vs-cat-owners/ 
  10. https://theharrispoll.com/whether-furry-feathered-or-flippers-a-flapping-americans-continue-to-display-close-relationships-with-their-pets-2015-is-expected-to-continue-the-pet-industrys-more-than-two-decades-strong/ 
  11. https://www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/new-aspca-survey-shows-overwhelming-majority-dogs-and-cats-acquired-during 
  12. https://www.thearchaeologist.org/blog/neolithic-cat-burial-in-cyprus-the-oldest-known-evidence-of-cat-taming
    https://www.science.org/content/article/feature-dog-lives-300-years-solving-mysteries-aging-our-pets#:~:text=Cats%20live%20an%20average%20of,as%20long%20as%20large%20ones
  13. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-cat-ever 
  14. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-how-does-catnip-work-on-cats/ 
  15. https://time.com/6046034/biden-cat-white-house-pets/ 
  16. https://www.human-animal-interaction.org/haib/download-info/personality-differences-dog-people-cat-people/ 
  17. https://gizmodo.com/why-cats-rule-the-internet-instead-of-dogs-1728316152 
  18. https://s2.q4cdn.com/437609071/files/doc_news/research/2020/pets-and-finances-survey.pdf 
  19. https://avmajournals.avma.org/view/journals/javma/238/10/javma.238.10.1275.xml 
  20. https://content.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_pet_insurance.htm 
  21. https://www.wellnesspetfood.com/blog/how-much-will-vet-visit-cost 
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317329/ 
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6241120/ 
  24. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_science_backed_benefits_of_being_a_cat_lover 
  25. https://web.archive.org/web/20021004100013/
  26. https://www.sciencealert.com/watching-cat-videos-lowers-stress-and-makes-you-happy-study-reveals