Cats by the Numbers

By Khris Berry

The world around us is changing at a super sonic pace. As we adapt, adopt and acclimate ourselves to a world punctuated by technology—it’s also fun to stop on occasion and take advantage of the accessibility of data and statistics which is ever more readily available.

Let’s apply that and take a look at some statistics that relate to man’s second–best friend—the feline.

Here are some numbers and facts I’ve taken the liberty to compile from recently released reports on Cat (and Pet) Ownership in the United States. These are the cats of the world, by number:

• There are approximately 94.2 million cats (and 89.7 million Dogs) living as pets in the United States.

• Between 1988 and 2018, the number of pet–owning households in the US increased from 56% to 68%, equating to over 87 million homes with pets.

• And who owns all those pets? Millennials are now the largest demographic of pet–owning households, owning 35% of all pets in the US.

• The Ecology Global Network has estimated that there are nearly 600 million household–size cats in the world including pets, strays and feral cats. Feral cats alone are estimated to number nearly 100 million individuals.

• Forty million households in the United States live with a cat. Of those homes, 52% own multiple cats. The average cat owner owns 2.1 cats. More women than men own cats but only by a slight percentage.

  Cats can make about 100 different sounds (dogs can make about 10).

The percentage of US households with a cat is 45.3% compared to 56.7% of households with a dog. Estimates are fewer than 1 in 15 Pet Groomers offer cat grooming. Recommended starting ticket prices for certified cat groomers are between $85–$100 per cat.

• Cats can travel at top speed up to 31 mph over short distances. A cat can jump up to 5 times its own height in a single bound.

• Cat owners will visit the veterinarian an average of 2.4 times each year, spending an average of $245 per cat in veterinary expenses. The cost to own a cat during its first year is $1,070 while the average cost to own a dog during its first year is $1,270. None of these costs include the purchase or adoption fee to acquire your new friend.

• At least one third of all pet cats are acquired as strays. Black and white (Tuxedo) cats are the least likely color to be adopted while orange cats earn the highest adoption rates.

• Worldwide, cats typically have an average of 4 kittens in each litter but can range from 1 to 12 kittens. Larger litters are seen in breeds such as Oriental, Siamese and Burmese pedigree cats. A group of cats is called a clowder and a group of kittens is called a kindle.

• Vermont boasts the highest number of cat owners per capita of any state with a whopping 49.5% of all Vermont homes being shared with a cat. Worldwide, the United States offers homes to the greatest number of pet cats with China being next in line as cat lovers.

• There are nearly 40 recognized distinct cat breeds worldwide. The smallest pedigreed cat is a Singapura which can weigh just 4 pounds. The top honors in the cat world in the size division go to Maine Coon cats which can weigh up to 25 pounds—which is nearly double the weight of the average cat.

• Cat owners are more likely to spay or neuter their pets with over 88% of all pet cats being reported as altered. As an interesting side note, less than 10% of animals who are owner surrendered to shelters are spayed or neutered.

While cats were popular among burial tombs from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, the oldest reported pet cat was found in a 9,500–year–old joint burial tomb with a human on the island of Cyprus, according to National Geographic.

• Like the humans who love them, cats also have 2 sets of teeth. Their 1st set is often called primary, milk or kitten teeth and consists of 26 teeth. Their adult set consists 30 permanent teeth.

Cats typically have a total of 18 toes; five on each fore paw, and 4 toes on each hind paw. Polydactyl cats can have as many as 8 digits on their front or hind paws. The Guinness World Record for the most toes on a cat is held by a cat named Paws who has a total of 28 toes.

• Cats have about 24 whiskers on their muzzles as well as additional whiskers on their eyes, chins and back of their front legs above their paws (called Carpal whiskers).

• Cats have more bones than a human (206), with 230 at maturation (245 at birth) and their clavicle or collar bone is free floating in their body deep inside their shoulder muscles.

Cats are the next best friend after dogs to mankind worldwide; they are the Robin Hood to our Batman; they are the macaroni to our cheese. Hopefully this helps us to learn a little more about a familiar pet, and preserve an interesting fact or two to share with our cat clients.  ✂

Statistics sources above include 2017–2018 American Pet Products Association, National Owners Survey, American Veterinary Association Annual Survey Sourcebook, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy.

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