Ownership of Cats in the UK

cat and dog owners with their pets

Ownership of Cats in the UK

This following data relates to 2007. It is a selective and summarised version, focusing on cats of a research paper prepared by J. K. Murray et al . As far as I am aware the research was carried out at Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU. The title of the research is: Number and ownership profiles of cats and dogs in the UK. You can purchase the document ($30) starting at this page or this page (searched result). The sample size was 2980.

I have presented it in a table for ease of reference. Note: I disapprove of the word “pet” (preferred: companion animal) and “ownership” (preferred: cat keeper or human companion) but both are used as well recognised terms:

Topic Statistic Comment – these are mine alone unless stated otherwise
Estimated number of cats in UK (2006) 10,332,955 (Number of dogs: 10,522,186) 1986:  Estimated of about 6.2 million cats and 6.4
million dogs in the UK (Thrusfield) – inaccurate?
2007: Estimated 7.2 million cats and 7.3
million dogs (Pet Food Manufacturers Association – PFMA) – inaccurate?
The current information contradicts anecdotal evidence.
Percentage of households owning cats in UK 26% (31% owned dogs). People who had a garden were more likely to own a cat or dog. The number of cats and dogs is related to the number of people that live
in that household1.

This compares to US study by Patronek that found that 19.7 per cent of households owned cats (dogs
(28.8 per cent)2.

Understandable that a garden encourages pet ownership
Households where someone was qualified to degree level More likely to own a cat (1.36
times more likely to own a cat than other households).
Does this mean more intelligent people prefer cats? Certainly more independent people prefer cats and the two sets of data may do hand in hand. The authors say this: “it could be related to occupations
requiring higher qualifications being associated with longer working hours and
therefore less time available for care of a dog.
Women More likely to own a cat Because women are generally less likely to be pack animals
Household with at least one dog and children aged 11-15 More likely to own a cat
Percentage of households owning one cat 58.3% (compared with 73.3% owning one dog)
Percentage of households owning two cats 29.3%
Percentage of households owning three cats 7.2%
Percentage of households owning four cats 2.1%
Percentage of households owning five cats 1.4%
Percentage of households owning 6 – 12 cats 1.6%
Average number of cats per household 1.66
Percentage of households owning one or more dogs and one or more cats 7%

Well there are two bits of information that stand out:

  1. Intelligent people have cats
  2. There are more dogs that cats in the UK

Although it should be said that the latter is still an estimate despite being accurate and the reason for the former could simply be as stated that people who are more intelligent are more likely to be ambitious and working long hours preferring therefore a cat that is a less demanding companion.

From Ownership of cats in the UK to Home Page

Ownership of Cats in the UK — notes

1 NASSAR, R. & MOSIER, J. E. (1991) Projections of pet populations from census demographic data. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 198,1157-1159

2 PATRONEK, G. J., BECK, A. M. & GLICKMAN, L. T. (1997) Dynamics of dog and cat populations in a community. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 210,637-642 — Ownership of Cats in the UK


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