Cats are second only to dogs in terms of popular pets in the U.S. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost 32 million households have cats. Being a cat owner can be expensive. A pedigree kitten can cost between $200 and $2,000. The ASPCA reports that the cost to keep a cat per year is over $600. This includes food, toys, litter boxes, and vet visits.
Research about cats has become a small industry. According to Smithsonian magazine, there are plenty of studies about whether cats are smarter than dogs. The key conclusion is that
For now we don’t have any clear answers about whether cats or dogs are smarter—or even how meaningful of a distinction that would be—let alone which is “better.”
Cat ownership across the U.S. is not uniform. To pick the state with the most cats, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, published in 2020 by the American Veterinary Medical Association for companion animal veterinarians and the animal health industry.
Collected in 2017-2018, the data is the most recent available, reflecting the total number of households and the number and percentage of cat-owning households in the 48 contiguous states as of December 31, 2016.
Cats seem to be particularly popular in the Northeast. The states with the most cats include Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire — though another New England state, Rhode Island, is at the bottom when it comes to cats. Like cats themselves, the statistics seem to have a mind of their own.
The state with the most cats as pets is Vermont. Here are the details:
> Households with at least one cat: 44.6%
> Number of cat-owning households: 118,000 — 7th fewest
> Number of human households: 265,000 — 2nd fewest
> Cat population: 150,000 — 4th smallest