It’s interesting to compare the percentage of homeless cats and dogs against the total population of these animals in various countries. It tells us about the quality of pet caretaking in those countries. And on this page, I also present added information as provided by the State of Pet Homelessness Index for which I thank them.
It is estimated that in India the total cat and dog population is almost 94 million. The total number of owned dogs is 12.7 million. The total number of owned cats is 1.3 million. The total homeless cats and dogs is 79.9 million. The number of street/stray dogs is 62 million and the number of street/stray cats is 9.1 million. The number of homeless cats and dogs in shelters is 8.8 million (source: see spreadsheet below).
Warning: I have decided that we can’t be very confident in these figures. It is always hard to count stray animals for obvious reasons. They are estimates. How accurate are estimates? How did they work it out?
In that data perhaps the most shocking statistic is that 85% of all companion animals are homeless. That’s an interesting thought because in the West we consider homeless companion animals to be no longer companion animals but stray cats and dogs or feral cats and dogs. So this is a definition problem. Are these community cats? Community cats are in an intermediate state: cared for to a certain degree by the community while not living in a specific home.
Let’s compare the 85% homeless companion animals in India with the United States (26%), Germany (7%), Greece (51%), China (29%), Mexico (20%), UK (5%), South Africa (27%) and Russia (6%). India is at the bottom by a long way.
In the table below please use the slider below the spreadsheet to read the data on the RHS.
The One India website provides some extra information. They tell me that almost 7 in 10 people living in India see a stray cat at least once a week. And nearly 8 in 10 citizens of India say they see a stray dog as frequently.
Another disturbing piece of information from that website is that 61% of the population of India say they do not visit their veterinarian. That must mean they never take their cat or dog to a veterinarian. To be clear, that is 6 out of every 10 citizens of India never take their companion animal to a vet. The reason: distance and reputation. Apparently, the global average is that 31% of people never take their cattle dog to the vet. That too is surprising and shocking. Is this how bad cat and dog caretaking is in the world? It looks terrible to me. What went wrong? This was not the way cat and dog domestication was meant to turn out.
Does this mean that in India the veterinarian service as provided is scarce and poor? Or does it mean that cat and dog owners can’t afford vets or are too lazy to take their companion animals to vets or unconcerned about animal welfare? There is an unwatchable video on the One India website of a leopard being killed by dogs. This is indicative of a dulled mentality towards animal welfare. Sorry but that’s how I see it.
For every 100 people in India there are three street dogs. There appears to be uncontrolled cat and dog breeding in India. If 61% of people don’t take their cat or dog to the vet it must mean that the majority of cats and dogs are not sterilised. This is probably the major reason why there is such a high proportion of homeless animals. Do I have this wrong? The data is baffling and unsettling. An indictment on the relationship between companion animal and human.
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.