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Some useful facts and stats about cat ownership in the UK, from the UK's leading cat welfare charity.

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Facts and figures about Cats Protection

  1. We have thousands of cats and kittens in our care at any one time
  2. We helped an average of 166,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years
  3. We rehomed an average of around 36,000 cats every year over the last five years
  4. We reunited an average of 2,500 cats with their owners a year over the last five years
  5. We helped to neuter an average of 134,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years, including around 16,500 feral cats
  6. We have 34 centres and around 210 volunteer-run branches nationwide
  7. We have around 10,000 active volunteers

More cat statistics

  • Cats are prolific breeders – one unneutered female cat can produce 18 kittens a year
  • The average life expectancy for a cat is estimated to be 12 to 14 years, though many cats survive to their late teens and early 20s in remarkably good health, depending on how well they are looked after

CATS (Cats and their Stats) report summary

  • Our annual CATS report 2021 provides an insight into the lives of cats across the UK
  • We spoke to over 10,000 people for the CATS 2021 survey
  • The survey was carried out between 8 March 2021 and 12 April 2021


Read the full CATS report

Here are some key cat statistics at a glance.

Cat population

  • There are 10.8m owned cats in the UK (2021) – an increase of 600,000 from 2020
  • Just over one in four UK households (26%) owns a cat, compared to 23% in 2020
  • Each cat-owning household has an average of 1.5 cats
  • COVID-19 had an impact. 7% of owners got a cat for a reason related to the pandemic, such as being furloughed or spending more time at home
  • The majority of cats are either adopted from a rescue/rehoming centre or shelter in the UK (25%), taken on from a neighbour, friend or family member (19%) or bought
  • 68% of cats and kittens purchased in the last year were found online
  • 65% of owners in the UK identify their cats as moggies, 23% as pedigrees and 5% as cross-breeds
  • There appears to be an increasing trend towards pedigree cats – of the cats obtained more than five years ago, 74% were moggies compared to just 51% in the last year

Vaccinations, neutering and microchipping

  • Cats Protection recommends that cats should be neutered from four months of age, but while 9.3 million cats are neutered, 1.3 million remain unneutered. Limited access to vets during COVID-19 may account for the small reduction in cats being neutered – 86% (2021) down from 88% (2020)
  • An estimated 2.8 million cats (26%) in the UK are not microchipped while 6 million (70%) owned cats are microchipped. Owners for the remainder were unsure if their cat was microchipped
  • 69% of owners say their cat is up to date with routine vaccinations. However, over a third of cats are not regularly treated for fleas and worms

Accidents, injuries and cruelty

  • Thankfully, the majority of cats (73%) have never been injured
  • Over one in four cats (27%) have sustained significant injuries or accidents. 11% of these were fights with other cats and 7% from other animals
  • Road traffic accidents were stated as a cause of injury for 4% of cats

Rental issues and households

  • It is estimated that one million households across the UK would like to have a cat, but can’t because they are in a rental property that doesn’t allow pets (5.2% of non-owners)
  • Cats Protection is campaigning to change this, so everyone can enjoy the companionship of a cat

Loneliness and wellbeing

  • Cats really did come to our aid during the pandemic. 20% of cat owners say that the main reason for having a cat in their life is to help them feel less stressed or anxious
  • Cats are the perfect antidote to stress. 90% of cat owners say they spend time stroking their cat or sitting together every day and evidence shows that human-animal interactions provide mental and physical benefits
  • The top reasons for owning a cat remain for companionship and to reduce stress and loneliness (51%). 92% say cats are part of the family, 88% say cats bring joy and 87% talk regularly with their cat
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