Categories: ailurophile

What country likes cats the most?

America likes cats the most. The next country that likes cats the most is Latvia. In third place is Canada and in fourth place is Lithuania.

America leads by quite a large margin, incidentally. The UK is quite a long way down the list.

How did I worked this out? It is insufficient to say that the country with the greatest number of domestic cats is the country which likes cats the most because that statistic depends on the size of the country. If we are to decide which country likes cats the most we have too at least compare the cat population with the human population of each country. In an ideal world we’d do more than that and discover in detail how people related to their cats but without that refined data we can at least get a hint at which country likes cats the most with the stats that we have.

So in the spreadsheet above I have divided the cat population into the human population and in the right hand column there is the ratio between the two. A low figure indicates more cats in relation to people in the country while a high figure indicates less cats in relation to people. Therefore a low figure tells us that the people like cats more. I admit that this is a rather simplistic formula but I think it works fairly accurately.

So, for example, if in the right-hand column there is a number 1 there would be an equal number of cats and people. But if in the right-hand column the number is 10 there are 10 people for every cat.

For the USA there are 3.72 people for every cat. At the other end of the spectrum is Slovakia where there are 18.7 people per cat. Slovakia is the country listed which likes cats the least.

There are two caveats that need to be mentioned with respect to this chart. Firstly, the dates for cat populations are 2010 and 2007 whereas the date for human populations is 2017 (the present). This in my opinion does not effect the validity of the chart because the date variations apply to each country. Therefore we can make comparisons between the countries reasonably accurately.

Secondly, the list of countries in the spreadsheet is limited. I know that Brazil and some other South American countries like cats. I’ll try and add them to the spreadsheet later and update the conclusion but…America will still lead.

One last point: the result does not surprise me at all. The conclusion fits in with my knowledge of cats across the globe. The fact that we don’t have figures for some countries automatically takes them out of the league because the lack of figures leads one to believe that they don’t care about these statistics.

The source of the statitics is the book The Domestic Cat: the Biology of Its Behaviour. Specifically for Europe the source is the European Pet Food Industry, Facts and Figures 2010, Brussels. For the USA the statistics come from the American Pet Products Association, sited on the ASPCA website for owned animals.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Sorry but I think your link is a very tenuous one at best. You don't appear to have factored in the numbers of animals euthanised for lack of homes or numbers of animal abuse cases taken before the courts, including neglect. I'm shocked to hear you believe America likes cats the most. A country where an estimated 30% of pet cats are legally declawed by willing vets and the hostile attitude of many towards feral and stray cats!!

    Having lived in several countries and visited many more, I can assure you that comparing human/cat populations alone, is not a strong argument for how well they're liked.

  • The conclusion that the ratio between cat and human populations is a measure of how well cats are appreciated by humans per country is a fallacious concept. The only true measure is how cats are actually treated in the respective countries not on how many cats there are. That is false logic. You can say that lions are more appreciated in Africa than any other country because most lions live in Africa. The numbers depend on many other factors. The ratio of cats to humans in Turkey and Cyprus is extremely high but they are extremely appreciated. I know people here who do their best to feed 30-120 cats. That high ratio does not mean they don't appreciate them..

    • Hi Harvey. Thanks for commenting and I hope you and yours are well. I agree that the method is not 100% accurate but it is more accurate than simply counting up the number of domestic cats in the country and then taking their country as one where cattle are most popular. This is what most sites have done.

      I believe that the method does provide an indication that cats are more popular in the selected country because there must be more domestic cats in homes in countries where the ratio is lower.

      This does not mean of course that the cats are treated well in those countries but all things being equal it is likely that they are treated reasonably in those countries. And I don't think cat welfare is strictly relevant to the question in the title. It is about liking cats not standards of welfare. If treatment is adequate then treatment can be ignored in the formula.

      In addition, America came out on top which does match up with my general gut feelings about this matter.

      To be honest, I think your lion analogy is badly formulated because we are talking about domestic animals which are adopted by choice. Lions are wild animals which are just there living side-by-side with people. If domestic cat adoptions are higher in one country than another then I think that it is fair to argue that people in that country like cats more than in the other country. Although as mentioned in is not an exact formula. But when animals are just there as lions are this method becomes irrelevant.

  • Wow! I am surprised. I thought that the UK, but more specifically the British, are the most enamored cat lovers.

    • I think that is a misconception to be honest. I would have expected a higher placing though for the UK.

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