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How Many Cats Are There on the Planet? What the Stats Say

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


How Many Cats Are There on the Planet? What the Stats Say

There are an estimated 600 million cats on the planet, according to the Ecology Global Network.1 That’s a lot of kitties! While it’s impossible to know for sure, experts believe that there are more cats than any other species of mammal, other than humans.

While cats are popular pets in many parts of the world, they remain largely wild animals. The biggest populations of cats are found in Asia and Africa, where they prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Cats are incredibly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of environments, from scorching deserts to icy tundra. Out of those 600 million cats, around 400 million live in Asia, while Europe and North America are home to 60 million and 70 million cats, respectively. In terms of breeds, there are more house cats than any other kind of cat.

Read on to really dig your claws into this question and all the factors that go into the world’s massive cat population.

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Are Cats the Most Popular Pets in the World?

Around the world, cats are certainly the most popular pets. One in three American households owns at least one cat. There are more pet cats in the United States than anywhere else in the world, followed by China and Russia. Cats are regarded as common pets on every continent except Antarctica. Since ancient times, cats have been kept as companions, as pest controllers, or even featured as part of religious rituals.

Are There More Cats or Dogs in the World?

There is no definitive answer to this question as no absolute census has been taken. In some areas, there are more cats than dogs, while in others, there are more dogs than cats. This discrepancy is likely due to variations in cultural attitudes and pet ownership practices around the globe. Generally speaking, however, there are more cats than dogs in the world.

It is estimated that there are around 600 million cats compared to only 400 million dogs. This is likely due to the fact that cats are easier to care for than dogs and can live indoors, while dogs require more exercise and outdoor space. Cats also find it easier to live a feral life, as they are generally better hunters and scavengers.

cat and dog
Image Credit: ilyessuti, Pixabay

Are There More Humans or Cats in the World?

There are more humans in the world than cats. This is because there are approximately 7.5 billion humans on Earth and only around 600 million cats. This means that there are more than 12 times as many humans as cats in the world.

How Many Wild and Feral Cats Are There in the World?

A feral cat is a domestic breed cat that was born in the wild and has not been socialized with humans, while a wild cat is a cat that lives in nature and belongs to a breed that has not commonly been domesticated. Estimates of the number of feral and wild cats in the world vary widely, from anywhere between 30 million and 100 million animals.

The main difficulty in calculating an accurate number is that feral and wild cats can be difficult to track and sample, and their populations can vary significantly from region to region and even year to year. Wild and feral animals are more at the mercy of their environment than domesticated animals. This means that changes in things like food availability, predation, or disease can have a bigger impact on their populations. For example, if there is a drought and there is not enough food to go around, the wild animals will be the first to suffer since they are not being fed by humans.

feral cats resting outdoor
Image Credit: Dmitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

Which City in the World Has the Most Feral Cats?

Some cities are known for being more cat-friendly than others, with a higher concentration of feral felines residing there. Istanbul, Turkey is often cited as having the most street cats of any city in the world. The exact number of cats living in Istanbul is unknown; however, it is speculated that there are hundreds of thousands of cats living in the city. The cats are popularly known as “kedi” in Turkish, and they are considered to be a part of the city’s culture. Many people in Istanbul provide food and water for local stray cats, and numerous organizations help feed and take care of them.

Estimates suggest that there may be as many as 500,000 to 1 million cats living in Istanbul. The vast majority of these cats are feral, meaning that they are not domesticated and are not typically handled by humans, though they certainly benefit from the support of many of the residents of Istanbul. Other cities with significantly high cat populations include Shanghai in China, and Tokyo, Japan.

Which City in the World Has the Most Indoor Pet Cats?

The answer to this question really depends on your definition of an “indoor pet cat.” Some people might consider a cat that spends most of its time inside but has access to a yard or balcony to be an “outdoor” cat, while others might consider all cats that spend the majority of their time indoors to be “indoor” pets.

With that said, it is reasonable to assume that the city with the highest concentration of indoor pet cats is Tokyo, Japan. ​​It is estimated that there are around 10 million pet cats in Japan, and it is safe to assume that the majority of these are kept as indoor pets, meaning that there are likely millions of indoor pet cats in Tokyo alone.

Why Have Cats Become So Widespread & Popular Around the World?

There are several reasons why cats have become so widespread and popular around the world. One reason is that cats are very versatile animals and can be used for a variety of purposes. Cats can be used as pets, as working animals, and as pest control agents. They are also relatively easy to care for, and they can be kept in a wide variety of environments. Cats can be kept as indoor or outdoor pets. They are also known for their playful personalities and their ability to charm humans.

playing with her cat
Image Credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj, Shutterstock

Are Any Cats Extinct?

Generally speaking, extinction refers to a species no longer existing in the wild, but there are many cases where domesticated animals (like cats) continue to exist even if they are no longer found in the wild. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes a list of mammalian species that have gone extinct in the last 100 years. This includes six species of cat: the Bali tiger, the Caspian tiger, the Javan tiger, the Chinese lion, the Barbary lion, and the European wildcat. All of these cats were hunted to extinction due to human activity.

The Iberian lynx is another example of a species of cat that is extinct. This species is native to the Iberian Peninsula in Southwest Europe, and the primary reason for the extinction of this feline was the loss of habitat, but hunting and disease also contributed to its decline. Today, many species of cats are endangered or threatened with extinction.

What Cats Are Threatened With Extinction Today?

There are a number of reasons why cats may be threatened with extinction, including habitat loss, hunting, and disease. One of the most significant threats to cats is habitat loss. As humans increasingly encroach on wild areas, cats lose their natural habitats. This can lead to reduced populations and increased vulnerability to disease.

Another major threat to cats is hunting. Many people view cats as pests and hunt them for sport or to protect livestock. Wildcats, for example, are now considered an endangered species in North America due to hunting and loss of habitat. The IUCN Red List currently categorizes wildcats as “vulnerable” due to their declining populations. In Asia, leopards are also under threat due to poaching and the destruction of their natural habitats.

a bobcat in a forest
Image Credit: milesz, Pixabay

What Cat Species Is Closest to Extinction?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the domestic cat as a species of least concern, meaning that it is not currently threatened with extinction. However, wild cats around the world are at risk due to habitat loss, poaching, and other threats. The Amur leopard is listed as endangered, the Sumatran tiger is critically endangered, and the Asiatic lion is vulnerable. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the wildcat as being “near threatened.” This means that while the wildcat population is not currently in immediate danger of extinction, it could be in the future if current threats are not addressed.

One of the major threats to wildcats is the loss of habitat due to deforestation and development. Fragmentation of habitats also poses a threat, as it can isolate populations and make them more vulnerable to extinction.

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In conclusion, while there is no definitive answer to the question of how many cats live on planet earth, we can estimate that there are at least 600 million cats living among us. This staggering number underscores the importance of understanding and taking care of these beloved animals. So, the next time you see a cat, be sure to give it a friendly rub!

Featured Image Credit: SakSa, Shutterstock

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