Source: Wabi5 (Extract)
Posted: August 17, 2023

Dogs may be the number one pet in America, but the dominant position man’s best friend holds is threatened — there are 58 million cats in the country, and numbers are increasing. There are already many US states where cats reign supreme.

Whether it’s because of a state’s climate or urban density, there are several reasons that some parts of the country have more felines than others, and cat ownership statistics in the U.S. reveal interesting information about the popularity of these pets.

Vermont & Maine Top Ranked

The latest cat ownership statistics reveal Vermont and Maine are the top two states in the U.S. for owning a cat. Vermont edges it slightly as the number one state, with 45% of households owning a cat. Almost one in every two homes has at least one cat.

Maine is close behind at 44%. These two states are scenic and regarded as some of the safest places to live in the U.S., so it’s no surprise cat ownership is so common here. Of course, outdoor cat owners must be careful of the various predators living in the wild.

Rounding Out The Top 5

The rest of the top five in the rankings show that West Virginia, Indiana, and New Hampshire are also popular for cat ownership. There’s a significant drop from the top two, with West Virginia seeing 38% of homes owning a cat and Indiana just a fraction behind.

New Hampshire has cats in 36% of its homes, still well over a third. And this is just tracking the number of homes with at least one cat — many of which will have two or more felines, taking the total number of cats up to a significant population.

The Rest of The Top 10 Explored

The rest of the Top 10 list of states ranked by cat population are:

Iowa — 35.6% of homes own a cat

Arkansas — 34.8% of homes own a cat

Idaho — 33.3% of homes own a cat

Kansas — 32.4% of homes own a cat

Wisconsin — 32.4% of homes own a cat

States With The Lowest Cat Population

Rhode Island is the mainland US state with the lowest number of households with at least one cat, at just 16.7%. That’s just 75,000 homes with a cat — not very many. Maryland, New Jersey, and Louisiana are the other states with cat ownership below 20%.

The southern states of Georgia and Texas also have low cat populations, while Illinois and New York are just above the 20% level, also — understandable, considering the bulk of the population lives in major cities that aren’t typically suitable for cat ownership.

The Bigger The Cities, The Fewer The Cats

The biggest cities in the U.S. tend to have the lowest cat populations. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco contribute to their states’ low rankings for cat ownership.

Of course, it’s better to keep a cat in a suburban home. City apartments don’t tend to lend themselves to a creature who likes plenty of space to exercise (indoor and outdoor). Those high-rises also aren’t the best for kitties who like climbing, with windows or balconies.

Spoiling Pets

There’s a fascinating correlation between the states with the most cats and those that spoil them the most. Vermont and Maine are ranked as the top states that search online for terms related to spoiling their pet, including looking for toys and scratchers.

Strangely, despite the low population of cats, Rhode Island is also in the top five of the study conducted by Printed Memories. So even though few homes in Rhode Island have a cat, it shows they still love their felines.

The Cat-To-Dog Ratio

According to further research by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there’s also a distinct geographical difference between the states that prefer cats to dogs. Cats tend to outnumber dogs in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, while the South and Southwest are more dog-friendly states.

The states with the highest ratio of cats to dogs are Massachusetts (1.87 cats for every 1 dog), Maryland (1.83), and Maine (1.66).

Cat Ownership Facts

According to the AVMA, over 58 million cats live in the U.S. as pets. On top of that, there are anywhere between 30 to 80 million feral cats in the country, meaning a potential maximum cat population of almost 140 million. That’s more than one cat for every three people in the U.S.

There are an estimated 370 million pet cats worldwide, meaning the U.S. is responsible for about 15.5% of the pet cat population in the world. Considering the U.S. has less than 4% of the global human population, that shows how popular cats are in the country.

Unfortunately, about 3.2 million cats are brought into shelters in the U.S. every year, either from homes that can no longer care for them or are lost as strays.

Overall US Cat Ownership

About 26% of all US households have at least one cat. Dogs still lead the way, with approximately 70 million dogs in the US and an average of over 44% of homes owning one. But there are many homes in the US with cats, demonstrating how much the country loves its feline friends.

Average Cat Numbers per Home

What’s also interesting to note is the average number of cats per home in the US is 1.78, meaning most homes have at least two cats — or more.

Many cats thrive alone, but some prefer to have company. It varies by breed and also by individual personality. Still, households in the US typically like to give their cats some feline company of their own.