Mars State of Pet Homelessness Index – measuring success and failure in pet domestication

Mars Petcare have created a useful and interesting index which pulls together information about homeless cats and dogs in 9 countries. They used more than 200 global and local sources. They researched attitudes towards cat and dog ownership. Germany comes out on top while India is bottom. The index provides a score as to the amount of homelessness in these countries plus there are other parameters. It is a useful measure, for me, as to the success or failure of domestication of cats and dogs on the planet.

Stray cat and dog fed the same food
Stray cat and dog fed the same food. Image: Pxabay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Although the picture isn’t clear-cut because, as I have stated before, in many developing countries cat and dog ownership is very loose. They have community cats and dogs which are not owned by one family and the animal does not live with that family. The trouble with this arrangement is that the ‘caregivers’ do not provide veterinary care for the animals. They feed them which is about the sum total of what they do in caring for them.

As community cats and dogs are not taken to a vet it is a failure in the domestication of cats and dogs. And it is massively widespread. It is the default relationship between humans and cats and dogs in many countries. Is this what cat and dog domestication has come down to thousands of years after the first animals were domesticated?

after seeing the table below and reading the pluses and minuses, hands up those people who think that the domestication of cats and dogs is a success! The more I’ve investigated cat/dog domestication the more I see failure. Of course, it depends upon your standards but look at this disappointing data.

Below is the Mars State of Pet Homelessness Index results in a table. I hope that you find the information interesting and useful. Below the table I have briefly discussed their findings.


In line with the public perception of Germany as an efficiently run country, it does not surprise me that they come top in this table. The researchers found that 85% of the cat and dog owners carried out extensive research before adopting a dog. This, they concluded, was an essential ingredient as to why Germany comes top in this index. If more people in other developed countries fully researched the responsibilities of pet caregiving before adopting, there would be higher standards of pet ownership.

Germany’s Index in detail


Mars Pet Care state that “UK data shows potential pet owners actively plan and research before owning a dog, which drives the “All Pets Wanted” score for the country up. They found that 56% of respondents researched “what it is like to own a dog before getting one”. This is slightly higher than the global average of 49%.


Compared to the global average, Americans perceive stray cat and dog populations as less of an issue than globally. They found that 23% of respondents said that they saw stray cats at least once a day compared to 26% globally. In America there is a high concern among the general population about rabies, tics and other conditions; 35% felt that these illnesses and parasites were a problem in their area.


Globally, they found that 13% of people regretted adopting a cat or dog whereas in Russia only 5% of the population had these regrets. This helped to push up their score. Pushing down their index score was the fact that “Russia shows lower rates of pet sterilisation with 46% of owners reporting having their pets sterilised compared to the global average of 61%.


Pushing up their score, they found that China has a higher rabies vaccination rate with 96% of pet owners and caregivers reporting that they had vaccinated their pet against rabies compared to the global average of 85%. Pulling down their index score they found that 70% of the population believe that stray dogs are a danger which is higher than the global average of 45%.

South Africa

Pushing up their index score is the fact that South Africa shows an above average sterilisation rate. Pulling down their score is the fact that they have a poor record of rabies control. The country has a high rate of canine rabies.


Pushing up their index score was the fact that Greeks say that they have a positive experience of pet ownership with over 90% stating this. Pulling down their score is the fact that there is a high prevalence of stray populations with 71% of people stating that they see a stray cat at least once a day while 45% state that they see stray dog at least once a day.


Pushing up their score is the fact that there is a 97% rabies vaccination rate which is higher than the global average of 85%. Pulling down their index, they have a slightly lower sterilisation rate of dogs at 57% compared with the global average of 61%.


A positive in their assessment is the fact that 78% of pet owners report treating their pet for tics compared with the global average of 76%. Pulling their score down is the fact that there is a higher prevalence of stray populations. Almost 70% of Indians living in India say that they see a stray cat at least once a week and nearly 80% say they see a stray dog as frequently.

India companion animal homelessness stats
India companion animal homelessness stats. Image: Mars Petcare.

The very low index score of 2.4 out of 10 by India is unpleasant to see. The researchers tell us that 85% of companion animals in India are homeless and the breakdown is as follows: 79.9 million homeless companion animals and 93.8 million total companion animals. They say that there are 62 million street/stray dogs and 8.8 million homeless cats and dogs in shelters with 9.1 million street/stray cats. Something is terribly amiss with the attitude of Indian people living in India with respect to their relationship with companion animals. It seems to be infused with carelessness and a disregard for the welfare of the animals. I am generalising because I know that there are individuals in India who are very good cat caregivers but these figures speak for themselves.

61% of the general population of India say that they do not visit the veterinarian for practical reasons such as reputational facilities. The global average is 31%.

India’s index in detail

Stray cat Mumbai India
Stray cat Mumbai India. Image: Pixabay.

Below are some more pages on ‘domestication’.

2 thoughts on “Mars State of Pet Homelessness Index – measuring success and failure in pet domestication”

  1. Living in Mumbai and having traveled across almost entire India as also the site administrator of the largest cat club on FB(Facebook)in India named “Mumbai Cat Club” and a lesser membership club called “Persian cats,Original and Ultra.Breeding and Upkeep” definitely can voice my opinion about this article regarding stray cat’s in India. Simply put in a few words is the fact that in India stray cat’s and dog’s are not “EUTHANIZED(KILLED)” by so called animal shelter’s as in most First World Country’s and hence one of the reasons for such a large number of stray dog’s and cat’s across Indian city’s and countryside. Tragically most of these stray cat’s and dogs die horrible deaths on the streets and countryside but in recent year’s animal welfare is a major topic among pet owners and animal activists. Sterilization of cat’s and dog’s is a major campaign in most city’s for controlling stray cat and dog population. Pet ownership and the ancillary business of pet products and pet care is also big multi crore rupees business in India.


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