Everyone loves cats, or that’s what we think in the UK. When it comes to who loves cats, some places are more into them than others. This can be based on culture, myths and a few other reasons, which will hopefully all be explained below.
The highest (estimated) cat population in the world belong to the USA, with a massive 76,430,000 cats in total. If you consider that the population of the US is nearly 313 million, that’s a lot of cats. This is by no means based on fact, but if we take a guess at the average family being 3 (two adults, one child), that makes 1.3 cats per family.
Cats have been popular in China since the Song dynasty around the turn of the first millennium. Certain types were used for rat catching and other as a status symbol for the rich.
Despite the history that Ancient Egypt has with cats, present-day Egypt doesn’t feature on the top 10 countries with the most cats. This perhaps isn’t a bad thing though, as traditionally cats were considered to be more respected than some people in ancient Egypt. Maybe they still are somewhere…
Russia isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of cats, but it actually has the third highest cat population in the world. Hey bring good fortune in Russian folklore, especially if you let them in your house before you… which doesn’t seem to make sense, but then what superstition does?
There are many other countries where cats are considered good fortune, including Japan and even Islamic communities, in fact, it is even speculated that the prophet Muhammad had a favourite cat, called Muezza.
Despite nearly everyone you know owning their own cat, the UK is way down the list as the 7th highest cat population in the world, with around 8 million cats, most commonly British shorthairs, Russian Blue’s and Maine Coons.
Possible mental health problems
After a daily Mail article in 2011, there were concerns that there were mass mental and physical health problems through people not looking after their pets properly. This included people leaving cats on their own for too long and also failing to give them proper vaccinations. There are a surprising amount of people who don’t know that you have to treat your cat and don’t try things like Frontline, leaving cats to get fleas and fall into bad health.
Are cat populations growing?
There are often news articles saying that the US feral cat population is growing, but what about the domestic cat population. There are no official figures on the growth of cats in UK homes, but as the population expands rapidly we can only assume that there must be a gradual increase as we get more people living here. Hopefully British cats won’t get the same feral levels that are being described in the USA, but only time will tell if that will actually happen or not.
Mary-Joe is a self-confessed mad cat lady.