Discover the Top 6 Countries With the Most Pet Cats

Written by Jaydee Williams
Published: November 30, 2023
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If you love cats, you’re certainly not alone. There are an estimated 220 million pet cats in the world as of 2021, and roughly 600 million cats (pets, strays, feral) in total! Cats live on every continent except Antarctica (although a few special kitties have made visits there), and one cat has even been to space! 

Some countries have higher populations of cats than others, with the majority of them being in Europe and North America. It may come as no surprise that the country with the most pet cats is the United States! But did you realize that Brazil has the third-largest population of them? Keep reading to discover all about the countries that love their feline friends!

#6: France

The cat licks his lips while looking at the donuts. The choice between unhealthy and healthy food.

Like dogs in France, cats are regarded in a friendly manner. You may even see them in restaurants and local shops.

©Svetlana Rey/

As of 2022, there were around 14.9 million pet cats in France. In the same survey, it was noted that around 32% of French households had at least one cat. Unlike many other countries, the population of pet cats is nearly double that of dogs. But most interestingly, the highest population of pets in France is fish — at 29.1 million. 

The pet industry in France is different from America, and the way people care for their pets is also different. For example, dog walking and pet sitting isn’t a very big business in the country. There are certainly pet sitters who offer services in France, there just aren’t quite as many. Also, big businesses like Rover and DogVacay just don’t exist over there. When French citizens travel, they usually make arrangements with family, neighbors, or a boarding facility for their pets. Also, the French typically have longer lunch breaks, so they will eat at home with their families and take care of their pets during the day. 

#5: Germany

A street homeless cat with fluffy matted hair and tangles sleeps sitting on a fence and basking in the sun. The concept of sterilization of homeless animals. Flea-ridden stray cat

Germany is one of two countries in Europe with very few stray cats. Their adoption initiatives and neutering laws prevent overpopulation.


Like France, cats are the top-owned animal in Germany. An estimated 15.2 million cats were living inside residents’ homes as of 2022. The amount of pet dogs was only estimated at around 10 million. If you visit, you’ll figure out about Germany’s cat culture pretty quickly! The country’s love for cats is evident in the language and in society. 

There are a ton of German phrases that have to do with cats, from ‘es ist nur einen Katzensprung entfernt’ which translates as ‘to walk like a cat around hot porridge, to ‘Der Stubentiger’ which translates to ‘someone who, after getting home, puts on comfy clothes and sits comfortably on the couch like a house cat’. If you can’t see Germans’ love for cats through their language, you can pretty much find it everywhere in the country!

For one, Germany has a very, very small population of stray cats. That’s because German citizens are generally more choosy about where their cats live and their safety. Most German cats are fully indoors, and they don’t let them roam around. Outdoor cats are not common, but you’ll see them in smaller towns and villages, especially in rural and farming areas. The German government requires that uncut male cats be led around on a leash if they are allowed outside. A majority of the major cities in Germany also have laws regarding the neutering of strays. 

#4: Russia

Little grey Russian Blue cat sitting on the rocks in the garden.

The Russian Blue species of cats first originated on an island north of Russia.

©Review News/

Cats are much more popular than dogs in Russia, with around 23 million living in residents’ homes. Dogs on the other hand come out to around just 17 million. Russian people are generally very welcoming to animals and will adopt stray cats and keep them inside. They’ll also band together as communities to care for the street cats who live outside. 

Russia is well-known for its population of stray cats, and if you visit the country you’ll likely see them wandering the streets. In fact, one Russian street cat made headlines after she saved an infant from freezing to death. Masha, a long-haired tabby, kept the abandoned baby warm and meowed repeatedly to get the attention of people passing by. After the baby was found and declared healthy due to Masha’s life-saving warmth and attention, she was declared a hero. Her local caretakers noted that she was getting all of her favorite foods as a reward. 

Beyond street cats and life-saving kitties, Russia is also known for a cat breed: Russian Blue. They originated on Arkhangelsk Island in Northern Russia somewhere around the 1800s. However, the breed is full of mystery and its full history is fairly unknown!

#3: Brazil

Cute cat on the Black Sea in Odessa in the spring

Brazil is home to a large number of stray cats, with many living on the infamous ‘Island of the Cats’.

©Anna Vangorodska/

Despite having a larger population of pet dogs and pet birds (58 and 41 million, respectively), Brazil is home to the 3rd-largest number of pet cats in the world. In a recent survey by the Instituto Pet Brasil (IPB), they found that the number of pet cats in the country was around 27.1 million. This amount had increased by 6% from 2020 to 2021, likely as a result of work-from-home initiatives caused by COVID-19. As people began spending more time in their homes, they felt a need to fill the space with pets. While the dog population increased by 4 percent, it’s clear that cats were just a bit more favored by citizens!

Why are cats so beloved by Brazilian citizens? The answer lies in a few reasons. For one, cats have a carefree personality. Unlike dogs, they don’t need potty breaks in the middle of the night and they usually won’t care if you’re gone for a bit. They’re very low maintenance and fit well into nearly anyone’s lifestyle mainly because of their size. Cats are small, compact, and fit well into apartments. It’s no wonder that the fast-growing country loves cats because you can fit one (or two, or three) in just about any living situation!

#2: China

Woman brushing the cat

Chinese citizens put tons of money into caring for their animals, spending more than $18 billion in 2016!

©vladans/iStock via Getty Images

In a survey done in 2022, cats were found to be the most popular pets in China. They outranked dogs by nearly 15 million, with a total of 65.4 million cats living in the country. It’s easy to see why if you visit because cats are very important to Chinese culture! They’re symbols of good luck, and their presence in Chinese poems and literature is unmatched by all other animals. 

Chinese citizens are very invested in their pets, and in 2016 spent more than $18 billion in the pet product industry. One reason is the former one-child policy which caused many people and families to invest more in their animals. Another reason is that many younger people in the cities who live alone away from family adopt cats to be their companions. China is also home to many cat cafes where visitors can pet cats and enjoy drinks. Chinese citizens really love cats — in poetry, in culture, and in their homes!

#1: United States

White cat on a white window washes.

The United States is the clear winner, with nearly 100 million pet cats!

©Volcko Mar/

As of 2017, around 95.6 million cats were living as pets in the United States. That means that nearly 40% of households in America own a cat (and many own more than one!). But why do Americans love cats so much? Well, there are a couple of reasons. 

Like citizens of many other growing countries, Americans like cats because they’re compact — easy to fit in an apartment or studio compared to most dogs. They’re also easy, unlike dogs, who have to be let out and walked. That isn’t to say that cats don’t need any stimulation — they’ll certainly benefit from regular play, cuddles, and brushing, like most animals. They’re just a bit easier to maintain than canines. Americans certainly like easy — as the country who invented fast food and convenience stations. It’s no wonder that we also love easier pets!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © evrymmnt/

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About the Author

Jaydee Williams is a writer at AZ Animals where her primary focus is on gardening, mammals, and travel. She has over 5 years of experience in writing and researching and holds a Master's Degree in English from the American College of Education, which she earned in 2019. A central Florida native, Jaydee loves being on the water, playing music, and petting her cat, Beans.

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