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How many cats are in the world? (with numbers)

Cats are among the most popular pets worldwide, even the favorite animal of many households in several countries. With the growing number of pets fully integrated into human families and knowing how fast cats can reproduce, have you ever wondered exactly how many cats there are in the world?

The reality is that there are so many that they cannot be calculated, but let’s look at the figures to get an idea.

World cat population: How many cats are in the world?

Whether you are a cat lover or not, knowing the demographics of this curious and fantastic feline is quite interesting, as the figures not only tell us a number but also give us information about the behavior of different cat populations by region, as well as telling us a lot about human societies.

how many cats are in the world - population

Before revealing the shocking figure, I would like to start by reminding you that domestic cats are an animal species that we humans took out of their natural environment to domesticate, that is, to modify its behavior and make it more palatable to us. And not only that, but we have created breeds of cats for the mere fact of being aesthetically prettier, from which we also profit indefinitely.

Felines like the lion, the tiger, and the serval have a defined natural habitat. However, the domestic cat, a species that was “modified or adapted” by humans, currently has no natural habitat, as we deprived it of its hundreds of years ago. With this, I want to introduce the idea that cat overpopulation is a problem created by humans, so it is our responsibility to help solve it and, of course, give a safe home to the millions of stray and feral cats.

Are you ready for the numbers? There are currently an estimated 600 million cats in the world, of which only 36% are pets, meaning only 220 million cats live in responsible homes, leaving a staggering 400 million stray or feral cats roaming the streets.

Why are there so many cats in the world?

One of the keys to understanding how the world’s cat population has grown so much is their reproductive cycle.

In theory, a female cat has between 1 and 8 kittens per litter, depending on the breed and size of the cat. On average, they can have between 2 and 3 litters per year so that a single cat can have between 2 and 24 offspring each year, now multiply those figures by the reproductive years a cat could have, which are between 5 and 7, and the figures go as high as to 168. One female cat can have up to 168 kittens during her life. Now imagine that each one of those cats, in turn, also has 168 cats and so on. It’s crazy.

Cat populations around the world

If we are going to count cats, it is much easier to count cats that are pets. Still, we must not forget about stray cats, which are those that once had a home but got lost or escaped and now live on the street but know how to socialize with humans, and of course, feral cats, which are those that were born and raised on the street, so they don’t know how to or want to socialize with us.

Each country has different figures that respond to their cultural patterns because some countries are incredibly cat-friendly, while others are not. Their constitution doesn’t need to say so. Look at simple things such as the number of pet-friendly restaurants or houses or apartments that allow them.

United States

It is estimated that there are more than 58 million pet cats in the United States, a number that grows every day. Twenty-six percent of U.S. households have one or two cats at home, making them the most popular pet after dogs, which inhabit 38% of U.S. households.

The United States is generally considered a pet-friendly country, with public spaces adapted to receive pets and hundreds of shelters to care for the millions of stray cats. This country has a very high number of stray and feral cats. The figure could range from 30 to 100 million cats.


This vast country also has a large number of domestic cats. Like the United States, there are an estimated 58 million pet cats and some 52 million strays, primarily concentrated in large cities such as Beijing.

how many cats are in the world - china

A curious fact is that of the total number of cats in the world, Asia is the continent with the most cats, with approximately 400 out of 600 million. And yes, China is the Asian country with the most kitties, with more than 100 million pet and stray cats.


Speaking of another huge country, chilly Russia has about 23 million pet cats, with the most popular breed being the beautiful Russian Blue Cat.

Worldwide, the number of cats adopted from the street or shelters far exceeds that of dogs, and Russia is an excellent example of this, as most of its pet cats were once strays or ferals. To make sense of this, let me start by telling you that in this country, people have the habit of sheltering stray cats when the weather is very extreme, and in some regions, this happens almost all year round.


This beautiful country is home to approximately 22 million domestic cats, being present in 19% of Brazilian homes. This country also has many feral cats, even having a region known as the Island of Cats, inhabited entirely by stray cats that people started to abandon there.

Why are cats so popular?

Cats are one of the most popular pets in all the countries of the world, but this doesn’t surprise anyone because, besides being excellent companions, they have a long list of characteristics that could place them even ahead of dogs.

For starters, cats are independent animals that don’t need to be walked to relieve themselves, so if you don’t have a yard, your cat won’t complain. They are ideally suited to apartments (a.k.a. indoor cats), unlike a large breed dog, and many landlords prefer to rent to people with a small, quiet cat rather than a dog that may bark at night.

how many cats are in the world - cats are popular

Besides being super affectionate animals that require little supervision and low maintenance, cats, being hunters, are excellent for helping in pest control. Rest assured that, by having a cat, you will hardly find any bugs or rodents in your home.

The bottom line

Cats are a trendy pet present in every country in the world. It is believed that there are about 600 million cats, so it’s essential to encourage adoption and sterilization. A cat is an excellent companion that, in addition to giving you affection, will help you clean your house of pests.

Now that you know more about cats, it’s time to look for yours! Go ahead and start looking for your ideal cat at the nearest shelter, or if you prefer a purebred one, find a responsible breeder. In any case, remember that there are countless cats in need of love and attention. Don’t miss the opportunity to give one of them home! Happy Cat Parenting!

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