How Many Cats Are There in the World?

Cats are popular pets in the United States are around the world.
Cats are popular pets in the United States are around the world.

Cats are the most popular pets in the world with one in every three homes in the United States owning a cat. The United States has the highest cat population in the world followed by China and Russia. They are very common pets in all the world’s continents except in Antarctica. Human beings have kept cats since ancient times for companionship, pest control, or religious rituals. The global population of cats is quite hard to ascertain with their estimates ranging from 200 million to over 600 million, and this includes all the feral cats, strays, and pets. 

Cat Populations Around the World

In 2007, the free-roaming cats were estimated to be about 158 million. In 1998, there were over 3 million cats in Australia, 7 million in Japan, and 76 million in Europe

There are over 75 million cats in the United States. In the United States, over 36.5% of the households have dogs as compared to 30.4% of homes with cats, but there are more cats than dogs with every cat-owning home having an average of 2.2 cats. A survey conducted in 2007 confirmed that there are about 75 million cats and 72 million dogs in the United States. About 3% of the cats in the US are adopted from a breeder, while 31% are from animal shelters. Over 27% of cat lovers adopt stray cats while 28% get their pets from family and friends. The number of cats exceeded dogs for the first time in 1985.

Other Reasons Why People Keep Cats

Not all the world's cats are kept as pets. In many parts of the world, cats are kept as pest control and used for their meat and fur. 

Pest Control

Cats are also kept for controlling pests, especially when dealing with a mouse or rat infestation. In the United Kingdom, the official title of the Prime Minister’s cat is the "Chief-Mouser to the Cabinet-Office," whose duties include inspecting security defenses, testing antique furniture’s for sleeping quality, and greeting guests. Only four cats, Freya, Larry, Sybil, and Humphrey, were given this title officially.


Unfortunately, other than being kept as pets, house-cats are slaughtered for their fur in countries like Switzerland and China. The cat fur is used in the fashion industry to make hats, shoes, gloves, and coats. In Switzerland, the locals make their blankets using cat furs as a folk remedy. The Swiss people believe that it can help cure rheumatism. The cat fur trade is outlawed in numerous nations like the European Union, Australia, and the United States.


Sadly, cat meat is considered to be a delicacy in some parts of China. It is estimated that in the Guangdong province of the country, the locals eat over 10,000 cats daily. Over 4 million cats are slaughtered and consumed every year in Asia.


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