How Many Cats Are In The World?

Written by Volia Schubiger
Updated: January 23, 2023
© GoodFocused/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:
Listen to Article

Throughout history, cats have been one of man’s closest companions. There’s no getting around the fact that these tiny fluff balls are absolutely adorable. Throughout the world, cats have managed to capture many hearts. Consequently, they are among the most popular pets in the world. With cats being such a popular pet, how many cats are there in the world? Find out how many of these adorable creatures there are along with some intriguing facts about them.

How Many Cats Are In The World?

how much do cats cost
There are three types of cats: house cats, farm cats, and feral cats. Feral cats range freely and avoid human contact.

©Diana Golysheva/Shutterstock.com

The history of cats dates back thousands of years. Historically, they have been companions to humans, and because of their cuteness, their population has continued to grow. So how many cats are in the world? It may shock you to find out just how many! 

15,599 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Over the last four decades, the number of cats in the world has increased dramatically, according to recent studies. As of 2021, the number of owned cats in the world is estimated to be 220 million, while the number of stray cats is estimated to be 480 million. It is estimated that there are roughly 600 million cats on the planet in total. In contrast to this number, the number of wild cats is only estimated at 100 million, and most of them are on the verge of extinction as a result.

Of the 600 million cats in the world, there are 400 million living in Asia, and 60 million in both Europe and North America. Let’s take a closer look at cat populations around the world.

Cat Populations Around The World

Cat's face being stroked by woman's hand
The United States has the largest population of pet cats in the world.

©iStock.com/NiseriN

According to 2017 estimates, 95.6 million cats were owned by Americans, and 42 million households had at least one cat. As of 2020, 10.9 million pet cats are estimated to exist in the United Kingdom. 

Let’s take a look at the top four countries with the highest number of cats:

United States

Cats seem to be a very popular pet among Americans. Approximately 25.4% of US households own a cat, which is the highest rate in the world. It is estimated that there are an average of two cats per household. However, pet cats only make up a small part of the large number of cats in the country. It is estimated that there are over 58 million pet cats in America, and between 30 million and 100 million feral cats roaming the streets of America independently.

China

2021 marked the first year that cats were the most popular pet among Chinese city dwellers. Statistics from Statista estimate that 58 million cats were kept as pets in urban households in China that year, an increase of nearly 10 million over the previous year. China’s pet industry is the third largest in the world, so there is no doubt that pet cats are a significant part of the population. Apart from pet cats, the number of stray and feral cats in the country is also skyrocketing, with thousands of them living in Beijing. According to estimates, Beijing alone had more than 200,000 stray cats in 2017.

Russia

During 2010-2021, there has been a gradual increase in the number of pet cats in Russia. In 2021, Statista reported 22.95 million domestic cats recorded countrywide, up from 22.75 million the previous year.  Across the country, there are a large number of households that own one or more cats, with the majority of these cats being adopted from the streets in the first place. However, a few of them are also part of the top cat breeds, such as the Russian Blue cat.

Brazil

The number of Brazilian households with at least one cat has grown to nearly 18%. It is estimated that there are approximately 22 million cats living in the country as of 2013. In addition to pet cats, a large number of feral cats and strays contribute to the country’s staggering cat population as well.

Best Animals For Kids
Cats, like dogs, are loyal, loving companions, despite what most people think.

©Sharomka/Shutterstock.com

The popularity of cats as pets can be attributed to many factors. Let’s take a look at the most popular reasons that domestic cats are valued by humans!

They Are Low Maintenance and Make Great Companions

The main difference between cats and other pets, like dogs, is that cats are much more independent. For bathroom breaks and exercise walks, cats do not need to be taken outside multiple times a day in order to relieve themselves. It is also worth noting that cats do not require nearly as much training as dogs do.

Meanwhile, cats will still want your love and attention as much as they can. If you’re busy doing work, cats usually curl up next to you and don’t demand much attention. Cats are often more comfortable being left alone than dogs are, such as when you are gone at work, and they are less likely to damage your home. As a whole, cats are both incredibly independent and incredibly affectionate.

Cats Provide Excellent Pest Control

It is believed that merely having a cat around is enough to keep mice and rats at bay. Occasionally, unwelcome rats may sneak into your house, but your cat will trigger its natural predator instinct if they do. Even though it can be horrifying to find the remains of your beloved pet’s most recent hunts, it’s still better than having vermin run amok in your home. It is also well known that cats are excellent hunters of insects, which will help to keep your home safe from moths, houseflies, and other creepy critters.

Cats Are Great for Smaller Living Spaces

One of the great parts of owning a cat is that it’s often a quiet animal that does not need a lot of space to live well. Unlike a barking dog, a cat’s meows won’t bother neighbors in your apartment building. Due to their small size, cats are more comfortable living in apartments than dogs, especially large dog breeds. Many apartment-dwellers find that cats easily accommodate to the space and are generally happy pets!

pet cat walking between humans legs
Fun fact: the oldest known pet cat existed 9,500 years ago.

©iStock.com/Chalabala

Up Next:

More from A-Z Animals


The Featured Image

Six cats sitting on white background
The Prestige Cat Trees Maine Coon Cat House is designed for large -- or multiple -- cats.
© GoodFocused/Shutterstock.com

Share this post on:
About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.