We don’t know for sure why Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom doesn’t have a cat but it must be because of several possible reasons which I discuss on this page. To the best of my knowledge none of the royal family have cats. They are dog people unsurprisingly. Update Sept 9th, 2022: yesterday the Queens passed away peacefully in the afternoon with her family by her side at Balmoral Castle, her Scottish country estate which she loved. It was possibly her favorite home. An era has ended. I am not a royalist but you don’t have to be a royalist to admire her lifelong sense of duty in serving the British people. The new monarch is King Charles III.
“I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else: I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands, and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” – The Queen’s Christmas broadcast 1957.
Allergic to cats
It’s reported that she is allergic to cats. This would be an immune response to the Fel D1 allergen in cat saliva. This is no more than a report without any real evidence because the royals don’t talk about this sort of thing. It would be nice if they did but the Queen keeps famously quiet about private matters. She believes that it makes her more regal. If she is allergic to cats, it is just bad luck (if she would like to live with a cat).
To the best of my knowledge, she’s not been photographed with a cat (wrong! – see photo below) but in contrast she’s been photographed many thousands of times with her corgis. And let’s remember that corgis are small dogs although they tend to bite because they’re trained to nip at the ankles of cattle (there have been biting incidents). That’s something else but the fact that she’s never been photographed with a cat during her reign as the Queen might indicate that she is allergic to them. An allergy to cats varies a lot between sufferers; some are mild while others are severe.
If you are allergic to cat, you can still live with them although it is obviously far more difficult. But it is not a complete barrier as many people who are allergic to cats, but love them nonetheless, live with them.
Doesn’t like cats
This option is unlikely because of the photograph above taken when Elizabeth was a princess. It looks as if it was taken on board Britannia, the royal yacht at that time, and she looks happy to be in the company of the ship’s cat. The ship was decommissioned years ago. Disliking cats seems very unlikely to me. We know that she loves dogs and horses and therefore the impression is that she likes animals although she allows animals to be killed for fun on her estates. I’m referring to shooting game birds like pheasants and partridges on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk. I say she is indirectly implicated in animal cruelty. I know I am being harsh in that criticism.
There is a distinct link between the royals of Great Britain and shooting birds for fun which is not a good association if you’re an animal advocate or animal lover. Once again there’s no accounting for taste so it’s just the way she is if she loves dogs but dislikes cats.
Too many dogs – no place for cats
A third possible reason is that she loves dogs, particularly corgis and dorgis (a hybrid corgi) and decided that it wasn’t sensible to have a cat when she lived with so many corgis. All but one of her corgis or hybrid corgis have died and she has not replaced them because of her age. My research indicates that in general corgis get along well with cats so there’s no history of corgis attacking cats. Perhaps she likes corgi so much that she had so many of them and therefore there was no place for more companion animals in her life.
Travels a lot and dogs can accompany her but cats can’t
A possible fourth reason is that she travelled a lot and continues to travel quite a lot to events to which he can take her dogs. They are more suited to her lifestyle. A domestic cats would have to stay at home in one of her palaces. That’s a pretty poor reason but it may be a contributing factor to her decision not to have a cat.
Britain’s upper class
It’s probably fair to say, also, that the upper class of Britain, the toffs, who like shooting and hunting in the British countryside are more inclined to prefer dogs to cats. It goes with the territory. I’m thinking of fox hunting hounds and working dogs who collect pheasants after they’ve been shot on gaming estates. It’s that sort of image that one has of the Royal family and the upper class. This may have encouraged her to live with dogs rather than cats as she was raised in her rarified world. William’s conservationist credentials as a conservationist are damaged by this.
If she likes cats, it was feasible to have one
Because she has so many properties and staff to help her, it would seem feasible to have a cat that she could bump into occasionally and who was looked after by one of her staff members. As the Queen could have had a cat but has completely steered clear of them it supports the theory that she is allergic to them.
P.S. She was one of the best-known people in the world but somewhat of an enigma because everything we know about her is her public image. She never complained nor explained. She endured and persisted. She thought long-term. She had a deep sense of duty. These are qualities that are thin on the ground in the UK in the 21st century.
She had a sense of humour and was a great mother to her kids. She liked to play practical jokes. She was a pianist, mimic and an animal lover. For television she liked to watch Countdown and the Line of Duty. Those who worked for her say that she was very normal and grounded. One woman who worked for, Samantha Cohen, said that “she was incredibly humble, she was without ego, quite shy really”. One of her royal protection officers, Richard Griffin, said: “Well, she can be very cantankerous at times but she’s got a great sense of humour”.
One last, difficult point: although she was an animal lover, she condoned game shooting of birds. A conflict of interests. And her gamekeepers were occasionally engaged in acts of animal cruelty.
Below are some more articles on cat versus dog.