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The CDC reports many benefits to pet ownership. Owning a pet can decrease a person’s blood pressure, cholesterol level, triglyceride level, and loneliness; and increase their physical and emotional well-being by promoting activity, exercise, and socialization.
Cats are (mostly) long-lived, low-maintenance, independent, quiet, and affectionate pets to own. With the number of breeds available, not to mention that each cat is unique, almost anyone can find their perfect feline friend.
14-22% of the population in each of the nine regions of England own cats. Cats are the second most popular type of pet in the United Kingdom, second to dogs. The area of South East England reportedly has the most cats per household. Moggies are the most popular type of cat.
A 2017-2018 study reported that 25.4% of US households owned cats. This means that almost 32 million homes had at least one pet cat. How does this compare to England, or more broadly, the United Kingdom (UK)?
Are Cats Popular in the United Kingdom?
Approximately 21% of United Kingdom households have at least one cat. While you may not think that this a large percentage, it actually is because only 41% of UK households have pets, so approximately half the pet-owning households in the UK included at least one cat.
Popularity of Cats in England
England is divided into nine regions, and a 2018 survey conducted by IAMS UK and reported by Country Living shows the percentage of cat-owning households in each region.
1. South East England
South East England includes Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. Cats are owned by 20% of the population in South East England.
While a higher percentage of the population owned cats in other regions, South East England reported the highest number of pet cats in total: 1 422 000 cats. This means that each household has multiple cats, and about 5% of these households each had five or more cats!
The London region of England is mostly made up of Greater London. Cats are owned by 14% of the population in the London region.
3. North West England
North West England includes Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Merseyside. Cats are owned by 16% of the population in North West England.
4. East of England
East of England includes Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Cats are owned by 18% of the population in East of England.
5. The West Midlands
The West Midlands includes Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands (county), and Worcestershire. Cats are owned by 17% of the population in the West Midlands.
6. South West England
South West England includes Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. Cats are owned by 22% of the population in South West England. This is the highest percentage of cat-owning households reported in the survey.
7. Yorkshire and The Humber
Yorkshire and The Humber include most of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, and North East Lincolnshire. Cats are owned by 16% of the population in Yorkshire and The Humber.
8. The East Midlands
The East Midlands include Derbyshire, Leicestershire, most of Lincolnshire, Northhamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, and Rutland. Cats are owned by 20% of the population in the East Midlands.
9. North East England
North East England includes Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Northumberland, and parts of North Yorkshire. Cats are owned by 14% of the population in North East England.
Love for Cats in the United Kingdom
People in the UK report to love their cats for their companionship, cuddliness, playfulness, intelligence, and independence.
There are also health benefits to owning cats. They can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by their presence, companionship, and affection. Owning a cat can also reduce blood pressure and other conditions that affect cardiovascular health.
Most Popular Cat Breeds in the UK
It would seem that the most popular cat in the UK is the Moggie or the Domestic Shorthair cat. Both these terms refer to a cat with no pedigree. 55% of cat owners in the UK own Moggies. But there are specific pedigree cat breeds that are more popular than others in the UK.
To learn more about the Domestic Shorthair (Moggie in England), check out our article on if Domestic Shorthair cats shed a lot: Click Here.
British Shorthair cats are large and strong with short to medium coats. They are relatively independent and able to entertain themselves so that you can go to work during the day, assured that your cat wouldn’t feel lonely.
But British Shorthair cats are also very affectionate and love to cuddle and sleep on your lap when you are home. Their laid-back, even-tempered personalities make them ideal cats for any family. They are also great in multi-person households because they do not bond with only one person.
To learn about the intelligence of the British Shorthair cat, take a look at our article on 7 of the dumbest cat breeds: Click Here.
Bengal cats are large and muscular with short, wild-looking coats that are distinctly reminiscent of their big cat cousins. They are sweet-natured, affectionate, and very loyal to their owners. Bengal cats are also regularly active and curious, requiring enough room to exercise and adequate stimulation to thrive.
Siamese cats are medium-sized, elegant-looking cats with short, color-pointed coats and big ears. They are intelligent and trainable, but they do have a mind of their own. Siamese cats are very affectionate and quite dependent, requiring lots of attention from their owners.
We go deep in detail on the Siamese cat in our head-to-head analysis between the Siamese cat and the Burmese cat: Click Here.
Maine Coon cats are large initially bred to be outdoor mousers. They have long, fluffy coats that require daily brushing. They are gentle, quiet, and adaptable cats. Maine Coon cats tend to put on excess weight if their diet is not strictly monitored and are not provided with adequate room for exercise.
We provide all the best information on the Maine Coon (and the Exotic Shorthair) in our head-to-head analysis between those two breeds: Click Here.
Persians are medium to large cats with long, silky coats, short tails, and flat faces. They are relaxed, easy-going cats, subject to bursts of energy, which send them tearing around the room. Persian cats require a controlled diet and regular exercise to prevent excess weight gain, and they need daily grooming.
We take a closer look at a common question on the Persian cat and sneezing in our article on the subject: Click Here.
Ragdolls are large, blue-eyed cats with long, silky coats and long tails. They are docile, loving, and great companions, well-suited to apartment life. Ragdoll cats tend to carry excess weight and are unlikely to initiate exercise on their own, so you will need to set aside time to exercise your cat.
We talk more about the Ragdoll cat in our article on 10 breeds of cats that shed a lot: Click Here.
Russian Blue cats are medium to large cats with short, plush, gray coats and brilliant green eyes. They have a longer life expectancy than most cats, living on average for 15-20 years. They are good cats in households with people who suffer from allergies.
We explore whether Russian Blue cats can go outside in our article: Click Here.
Scottish Fold cats are medium to large cats, with short, medium, or long coats. They are characterized by their folded ears, which emphasize their round heads. Scottish Fold cats are wonderful, affectionate, multi-person companions. They tend to carry excess weight and should be diligently encouraged to exercise.
Savannah cats are large, wild-looking cats with short, spotted coats and big ears. They are adventurous, with a strong hunting instinct. Savannah cats require proper socialization as kittens but are loyal and playful and even enjoy playing in water.
Sphynx cats are medium-sized, hairless, and wrinkled. Their sleek physique, big eyes, and all-around striking appearance are reminiscent of the depictions of ancient Egyptian cats. Sphynx cats are energetic, agile, and quirky. They will want to follow you around and be included in all the household activities.
We take a close look at whether Sphynx cats can safely go outside in our article: Click Here.
Cats are relatively popular in England, and companionship is the most common reason provided by the UK population as to why they own cats. The popularity of cats seems to be approximately the same in each region of England as the cat-owning populations in these regions ranged between 14-22%. As with America, cats seem to be the second most popular pet to own in the UK; dogs are the most popular.
The most popular type of cat in the UK is the non-pedigree Moggie. The most popular cat breeds are the British Shorthair, Bengal, Siamese, Maine Coon, Persian, Russian Blue, Scottish Fold, Savanna, and Sphinx.
If you are interested in reading another article on the popularity of cats in world regions, I suggest the following: