Cats have been household pets for unrecorded centuries, and have made a name for themselves as renowned mousers and loving companions in the US ever since accompanying some of the earliest colonists on ships from Europe. Long depicted as independent free spirits in books, media and popular culture, cats have nonetheless captured the hearts of humans across the world as affectionate, helpful and rather sleepy house pets. In fact, spoiled pet cats can be seen in photography dating back as far as the 1800s, when early cameras were used to capture images such as Harry Porter’s The Brighton Cats.
It can be difficult to measure America’s love of cats in any definite terms. Despite this, we wanted to find out more about cat ownership across the US and the globe. To do this, we surveyed 4,692 adults across the US in October 2022 asking whether they own a cat, how many cats they own, and whether they plan to get a cat in the future. We also collected a range of other data using Keyword Finder and a few third party sources to analyze the popularity of cat breeds in America and how many people are looking to adopt vs shop.
The truth about cats: Our findings in a nutshell
Are you currently facing a cat-astrophe and have no time to read the details? Here are our main findings wrapped up to go:
- Bengal cats are the most popular cat breed in the States, accumulating the most average monthly Google searches per 100,000 people in 29 out of 51 states.
- Nearly 1 in 3 adults own a cat in the US (29%).
- Half of US adults (50.5%) either currently own a cat or have owned one in the past.
- And 1 in 12 Americans own 3 or more cats! (8%).
- People in Ohio seem to show more interest in buying or adopting a cat than any other state in the US.
- As many as 1 in 10 adults between 18 and 34 own 3 or more cats (9.7%).
- Adults in the South of the US are the most likely to own cats (31.5%).
- Adopt don’t shop: As of 2022, 3 times as many Google searches are conducted for cat shelters and rescues than cat sales per month.
Our survey question: What we asked
To find out what percentage of the US owns a cat, we used Google Surveys to ask 4,692 US adults the very simple question: Do you own a cat? We also asked for details such as age and gender to categorize respondents into demographic groups.
The options were:
- Yes, I own 1 cat
- Yes, I own 2 cats
- Yes, I own 3 or more cats
- No, I do not own cats and never have
- No, I do not own cats but I used to
- No, I do not own cats, but I plan to in future
The survey was carried out in October 2022 using Google Surveys.
Cat Ownership Statistics: How many people own a cat in the US in 2022
Our survey discovered that 60.6 million US adults own a cat in 2022. That’s 29% of the adult population!
But how many cats does each of these cat owners have? How many people are planning to get a cat if they don’t have one, and how many have owned a cat in the past?
- Nearly 1 in 3 US adults currently own a cat in 2022 (29%).
- That means over 60.6 million people in the US own a cat!
- And almost 1 in 6 American adults are planning to get a cat in the future (14.1%).
- 1 in 5 Americans used to own a cat, but don’t own one now (21.8%).
- And just over a third of Americans have never owned a cat (35.1%).
So do cat owners prefer a single cat, or many? We asked how many cats our cat-owning respondents host in their homes, and found that:
- 1 in 6 American adults are ruled over by a single household cat (14.2%).
- And 6.8% of US adults own 2 cats. That’s over 17 million Americans!
- 1 in 12 are outnumbered by 3 or more kitties, showing that it’s more likely for multi-cat owners to opt for higher numbers of cats (8%).
Do men or women prefer cats in the US?
Stereotypes often depict women as the biggest cat lovers of America, even resulting in phrases such as ‘crazy cat lady’ to describe a woman with multiple cats in her home. Despite the assumption that women are more likely to like cats, stereotypes are just that – stereotypes. So who really prefers cats – men or women? We separated our respondents by gender to find out.
- More than 1 in 6 men are planning to get a cat in future (16.4%), compared to only 1 in 8 women (12%).
- Men and women are equally likely to own a cat in 2022 (28.5% vs 29%).
- More women than men used to own a cat but do not own one now (24.1% of women vs 19.4% of men).
At what age are Americans more likely to own cats?
Age frequently brings money and means to many Americans hoping to own animals; so just how much does age affect how many US adults own a cat? And does age affect how many cats a person is likely to own? To find out, we arranged our respondents into age groups ranging from 18-24 up to 65+. We found that:
- Nearly 2 in 5 young adults between 18 and 25 own a cat, making them more likely than any other age group in the US to be cat parents (37.1%).
- More 18-24 year olds currently own a cat than young adults that have never owned a cat before (37.1% vs 33.5%).
- More than 1 in 6 25-34 year olds plan to get a cat, making them the most likely age group to have kitties in their future (16.4%).
- Adults between the ages of 35 and 44 are the least likely to have owned a cat in the past (38.6%).
- And adults over 65 are the most likely to have previously owned a cat but not own one now (28.9%).
So does age affect how many cats any particular cat owner is likely to have? We took a look at our survey responses to find out:
- 1 in 5 18-24 year olds own 1 cat (20.6%). That’s 4.5% more than 55-64 year olds, the next most likely age group to be cat parents.
- Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely than any other age group to have more than 1 cat (17.6%).
- 1 in 10 18-34 year olds own 3 or more cats (9.7%). That makes young adults the most likely age group to be herding cats.
- Despite this, 35-44 year olds are the most likely to own 2 cats in 2022 (8.5%).
Which US regions have the most cat lovers?
Location affects a number of factors for pet owners, especially when it comes to cats, which are often allowed to freely wander outdoors. Dangers such as mountain lions, coyotes, fast roads and extreme temperatures can all affect how popular cats are to keep. So how does location affect how likely adults in the US are to own a cat? To find out, we separated our survey respondents by region.
- Southerners are more likely to own cats than people anywhere else in the US, with nearly 1 in 3 (31.5%) saying they own 1 or more cats.
- Americans living in the West are the least likely to own cats in 2022 (26.6%).
- People in the Northeast are the most likely to plan to own a cat in future (16.8%).
- Nearly 1 in 4 Midwesterners have owned a cat in the past but don’t own one now (23.6%).
What’s the most popular cat breed in the US?
The most popular cat breed in the US is officially the Bengal! Read on to discover how we found this out, and which breeds are also among the most popular.
Cats are incredibly diverse animals, and have been bred for their variety for thousands of years across the world. There are hundreds of breeds thriving in the pet market today, from elegant Siamese cats to large and proud Maine Coons – whatever your preference, a cat breed exists to meet it. But which breeds are the most popular in the US in 2022? And which breeds are the favorite of each State? To find out, we used Keyword Finder to analyze average monthly Google searches for each cat breed in each state and across the US as a whole. We then arranged the top 10 cat breeds in each state by number of monthly searches. To ensure that our results are accurate and to remove confusion that may occur between searches for cat breeds and searches for other subjects, we added ‘cat’ to the end of each breed name.
Most popular* cat breeds in the US
- Bengal cats are officially the most popular breed in the US, achieving first place in 29 out of 51 states.
- The second most searched-for breed is the Maine Coon, achieving top spot in 20 states in the US, including its namesake, Maine!
- Maine Coon cats also appear to be the darlings of the South, with 11 out of those 20 states located in the region: Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
- Siamese cats come in third, reaching the top spot in two states (Hawaii and New Mexico), and settling for the third most popular breed in 22 states.
- And Norwegian Forest cats are the third most popular in 5 states: Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont.
*Based on average monthly online searches in 2022
Do more people want to adopt or buy cats after the pandemic?
The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 changed the lifestyles of many Americans in both temporary and long term ways. Long periods of time spent alone at home opened up many people to the prospect of buying and adopting pets to fill their time and give them some companionship.
In light of this, did Covid change how many people were looking to buy or adopt cats in the US? And has the number of people interested in adopting rather than buying changed since before the pandemic? To find out, we used Keyword Finder to analyze the Google search rate for several variants of key phrases such as ‘cats for sale near me’ and ‘cat shelter near me’. We then repeated this research for 2019 through 2021, and compiled the average monthly search rates for all related searches to find the total number of searches made for adopting and buying cats respectively.
It should be noted that searching for cat shelters does not necessarily indicate an intention to adopt a cat, and that averages for 2022 are taken from September 2021 to September 2022 due to the nature of Keyword Finder’s 12 month averaging methods.
- Intentions to buy or adopt a cat rose most rapidly at the beginning of the pandemic, with Americans searching an average of 339,747 times a month in 2020, a 59% higher search rate than in 2019.
- This figure continued to rise throughout 2021 and 2022, with Americans searching a monthly average of 389,140 and 440,300 times each year respectively.
- People in the US appear to show more interest in adoption than purchasing when it comes to pet cats, with rescues and shelters experiencing nearly 3 times as many Google searches as those relating to cats for sale per month.
- While interest in buying cats increased between 2019 and 2020, it proceeded to fall through 2021 and after the pandemic, experiencing a drop of 17,967 monthly average searches between 2020 and 2022.
- Meanwhile, interest in cat shelters and adoption rose steadily throughout and after lockdown, with average monthly searches more than doubling between 2019 and 2022.
In which states are people more interested in getting a cat?
In light of this information, we wanted to find out which states are the most interested in adopting or buying a cat in 2022. To do this, we repeated our key phrase research for each state, and then divided the figure for each state by its population. We then multiplied this figure by 100,000 to find out how many searches were conducted per 100,000 people in 2022.
|Rank||State||Average monthly searches per 100,000 people for cats for sale and adoption|
|10||District of Columbia||161|
- People in Ohio seem to be the biggest cat lovers, conducting more searches for cats for sale and adoption per 100,000 people than any other state in the US.
- Next up are cat-loving Pennsylvanians, who search for cat adoption-and-buying related queries an average of 194 times a month per 100,000 people.
- Mississippians seem to show the least interest in buying or adopting cats, searching a mere 44 times per 100,000 people per month.
- People in the Midwest and the Northeast appear to show the most interest in acquiring cats, with 4 of the top 10 states for average monthly searches located in the Midwest (Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, and Minnesota) and 4 in the Northwest (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia).
How big is the global market for cat products?
While cats are considered very independent pets, they still need a good deal of attention, care and equipment to live long and happy lives in your home. Many pet owners love to spoil their pets, but just how much is the cat industry worth today? And how much does the average household spend on their cats? To find out, we studied several third-party global market reports for 2020. In this section we define the cat product market as a combination of cat food, cat toys and cat litter, and have excluded veterinary and insurance industries due to lack of global data. We found that:
- The global market cap for cat food reached $27.78 billion in 2020, and is predicted to experience a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% between 2021 and 2030.
- Cat litter is the next biggest industry in the cat product market, achieving a market cap of $7212.8 million in 2020.
- And cat toys make up the smallest industry, with a 2020 market cap of $668.2 million, a mere 2% of the overall cat-specific product market.
What products and services do cat owners spend the most money on in the US?
From toys to vet bills to food, pet care is full of expenses. Not all of these costs can be predicted; from emergency vet trips to fussy eaters, cat parents can end up spending a lot more than they budgeted for on keeping their furry friend happy and healthy. The cost of every cat is different: whether your cat is a toy-loving kitten or a senior cat that hasn’t looked at the toys you bought for them in years, the prices and the products you buy for them will change constantly. Despite this, there’s always room to assume that some aspects of cat ownership will cost more than others: so what are these expenses likely to be? To find out what aspects of cat care US households spend the most money on in the US, we analyzed average household cat cost data from the ASPCA.
|Rank||Expense||Average cost per year (for one cat)|
|3||Routine Vet Visits||$160|
|5||Preventative Vet Trips||$140|
- Insurance is the biggest predictable cost for cat owners in the US, costing an average of $348 per cat per year.
- Food is the second largest expense, costing an average of $225 a year for cat food for one cat.
- Cat owners can expect the smallest expense to be cat toys, spending an average of merely $22 a year on toys for their furry friends.
What are the most popular cat food brands in the US?
Cats can be notoriously fussy when it comes to dinner – but is it really their fault when we cater to their fussiness? It can be said that food is one of the most popular ways to spoil our pets, and many cat owners will be well aware of their pet’s pickiest food preferences. So what cat food brands are most popular in the US? To find out, we used Keyword Finder to analyze the average monthly search rate for several of the biggest pet food brands in the world. To ensure that these searches were conducted for cat food, we analyzed search rates for phrases such as ‘Fancy Feast cat food’ and ‘Hills cat food’.
- Fancy Feast appears to be the most popular brand of cat food in the US, with Americans searching for it an average of 28,500 times per month in 2022.
- Purina is the second most searched-for cat food, acquiring an average of 23,400 cat food-related searches every month in the US.
- VetDiet cat food appears to be of little interest to Americans, acquiring an average of only 150 searches a month in the US.
What are the most popular cat toy brands in the US?
While cats are notoriously good at entertaining themselves with everyday objects like boxes, paper, plastic and – more traditionally – wool, these pastimes depend on the household items available and tend to result in more destruction than healthy playtime. Most cat owners will know the trauma of a bored cat that gets somewhere it shouldn’t – broken mugs, bites taken out of family dinners, and hoards of stolen items under the couch. Cat toys are specifically designed to keep your cat active, happy and busy in order to prevent destructive behavior and keep your cat entertained.
While cat toys don’t make up the biggest cat-related product market in the world, many well-known companies have started making and designing them to meet the increasing demand of pet owners. So which cat toy brands are the most popular in the US? To find out, we repeated our keyword research for a range of pet product brands* that sell cat toys. To ensure that searches were carried out in relation to cats and not other pets, we added the search term ‘cat toys’ to the end of company names, searching for phrases such as ‘Petlinks cat toys’ and ‘Petstages cat toys’.
*We used Future Market Insights’ list of cat toy brands with the largest market share in the US and also added other cat toy brands to this list which had significant search volumes in 2022.
- People in the US search for Petlinks cat toys more than any other brand of cat toy, conducting an average of 650 searches per month in 2022.
- Petstages appears to be the second most popular brand of cat toy in the US, providing a range of items such as dental health chew toys, chase toys and toys containing catnip.
- Hartz and Our Pets are close competitors when it comes to popularity, with the US population searching for their cat toys an average of 210 and 200 times a month respectively.
Which states have the highest optional vaccination rates for cats?
It’s a pet owner’s responsibility to make sure that their cat is up to date on all necessary vaccinations. These vaccinations help to keep your cat and other cats safe from dangerous and potentially fatal diseases such as rabies and FPV (feline panleukopenia). But just how many cats are up to date with non-essential vaccines in the US in 2022? And which states have higher vaccination rates for their feline population?
A study published in the journal Vaccine in 2022 analyzed the rate of feline leukemia vaccinations in cats in the US between 2016 and 2020. The study also presented the average clinic vaccination rates in each state, allowing us to determine which states have the highest rates of vaccination for cats. The study only presented states where information was available from more than 10 clinics.
|Rank||State||Median clinic vaccination rate for feline leukemia virus|
- Clinics in Oklahoma are the most likely to apply the FeLV vaccine to cats, with an average vaccination rate of 94.7%.
- Vet clinics in Louisiana appear to be the second most likely to apply non-essential vaccinations to cats, applying the feline leukemia vaccine to an average of 82.9% of cats in each clinic.
- In direct contrast, vet clinics in New Jersey appear to have the lowest vaccination rate for feline leukemia in the US, vaccinating an average of only 9.3% of cats visiting their clinics.
- 8 of the top 10 states with the highest feline leukemia vaccination rates are in the South of the US: Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina.
- And 6 of the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates are in the Northeast: New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
Other fun cat statistics!
Still hunting for more? Get your claws into these extra cat statistics and facts!
- Did you know that cats can go up to 2 weeks without food! However, it’s never good for them to go more than 12 hours without a meal.
- Also, their peripheral vision alone is 200 degrees compared to humans’ 180 degrees – which may explain why they seem to spend so much time staring at walls!
- The ‘kneading’ action we often see our cats doing actually stimulates glands in their paw pads. And this movement has a wide range of functions! These include:
- Stimulating the mother’s milk while kittens are nursing
- Marking their scent on a blanket, furniture or even you to claim their territory
- Showing affection.. Because what better way to say ‘I love you’ than to dig your claws into someone!
- Simply stretching themselves out
Finally, did you know that cats sleep for an average of 15 hours a day!
A final note to sum up our cat statistics, facts and figures of 2022
Cats are companions for life, and it’s important that we treat them with all the love and care they deserve. Hopefully this article has helped you gain a better understanding about the relationship Americans across the US enjoy with our cats! For more information about cats, such as cat care tips, breed profiles, and the finer points of cat behavior, you can browse our blog here.