America’s Cat Capitals: Exploring the States with the Highest Number of Feline Friends

Cats are one of the most popular pets in the US, but unsurprisingly there are certain parts of the country where cats are preferred to other pet types.

Whether it’s because of a state’s climate or urban density, some parts of the country just have fewer felines than others. So, let’s look at the US states where cat ownership is most prolific and explore some other stats about American cat owners.

Vermont & Maine Top Ranked

The latest cat ownership statistics reveal that Vermont and Maine are the top two states in the US for owning a cat. Vermont edges it slightly as the number one state, with an incredible 45% of households owning a cat. This is huge when you consider it – almost one in every two homes has at least one cat.

Maine is close behind on 44%. These two states are beautifully scenic and are regarded as some of the safest places to live in the US, so it’s no surprise that cat ownership is so common here. Of course, outdoor cat owners must be careful as various predators live in the wild.

Rounding Out the Top 5

Little kitten with a curly tail.
Photo credit: Deposit Images

The rest of the top five in the rankings show that West Virginia, Indiana, and New Hampshire are also extremely popular for cat ownership. There’s a significant drop from the top two places, with West Virginia seeing 38% of homes owning a cat and Indiana just a fraction behind.

New Hampshire has cats in 36% of its homes, still well over a third. And this is just tracking the number of homes with at least one cat – many of which will own two or more felines, taking the total number of cats up to a significant population!

The Rest of the Top 10 Explored

The rest of the Top 10 list of states ranked by cat population are:

  • Iowa – 35.6% of homes own a cat
  • Arkansas – 34.8% of homes own a cat
  • Idaho – 33.3% of homes own a cat (exactly a third!)
  • Kansas – 32.4% of homes own a cat
  • Wisconsin – 32.4% of homes own a cat

States with the Lowest Cat Population

Rhode Island is the mainland US state with the lowest number of households with at least one cat, at just 16.7%. That’s just 75,000 homes with a cat – not many at all! Maryland, New Jersey, and Louisiana are the other states with cat ownership below 20%.

The southern states of Georgia and Texas also have low cat populations, while Illinois and New York are just above the 20% level, too – understandably, when you consider the bulk of the population lives in major cities that aren’t typically suitable for cat ownership.

The Bigger the Cities, the Fewer the Cats

Adorable duo of kittens
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Indeed, the biggest cities in the US tend to be where you’ll find the lowest cat populations. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco contribute to their state’s low rankings for cat ownership.

Of course, it’s much better to keep a cat in a suburban home. City apartments don’t tend to lend themselves to a creature who likes plenty of space to exercise (indoor and outdoor). Of course, those high-rises aren’t the best for kitties who like climbing up at windows or balconies.

Spoiling Pets

There’s a fascinating correlation between the states with the most cats and those that spoil them the most. Vermont and Maine are both ranked as the top states that search online for terms related to spoiling their pet, including looking for toys and scratchers.

Strangely, despite the low population of cats, Rhode Island is also in the top five of the study conducted by Printed Memories. So even though few homes in Rhode Island have a cat, it shows they still love their kitties a lot!

The Cat-to-Dog Ratio

According to further research by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there’s also a distinct geographical difference between the states that prefer cats to dogs. Cats tend to outnumber dogs in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, while the South and Southwest are very much more dog-friendly states.

The states with the highest ratio of cats to dogs are Massachusetts (1.87 cats for every 1 dog), Maryland (1.83), and Maine (1.66).

Cat Ownership Facts

Happy Family with their pet.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

According to the AVMA, over 58 million cats live in the US as pets. On top of that, there are anywhere between 30-80 million feral cats in the country, meaning a potential maximum cat population of almost 140 million. That’s more than one cat for every three people in the US.

As a rough guide, there are an estimated 370 million pet cats worldwide, meaning the US is responsible for around 15.5% of the pet cat population in the world. Considering the US has under 4% of the global human population, that shows just how popular cats are in the country.

Unfortunately, around 3.2 million cats are brought into shelters in the US every year from homes that can no longer care for them or that are lost as strays.

Overall US Cat Ownership

In total, around 26% of all US households have at least one cat. Dogs still lead the way, with around 70 million dogs in the US and an average of over 44% of homes owning one. But there are a huge number of homes in the US with cats, which tells you just how much the country loves its feline friends.

Average Cat Numbers Per Home

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

What’s also interesting to note is that the average number of cats per home in the US is 1.78, meaning most cats have at least two cats – some more.

Many cats thrive alone, but often, cats prefer to have some company. It varies by breed and also by individual personality too, but typically households in the US prefer to give their cat some feline company of their own.

This article was produced by Floppycats and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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