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Survey Says ... Get a Cat!

Results reveal mixed perceptions of felines—and some surprising demographics

While cats are the most popular pet in the United States, there are still thousands in animal shelters waiting for loving homes. In an effort to boost cat adoptions and save lives, the Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit that funds research studies to advance animal health and welfare, surveyed 1,102 non-cat owners about their perceptions of cats to gain insight into what may be preventing them from finding those homes. The results show that the next wave of cat owners may come from unexpected segments of society.

More cats than dogs live in American households today—93.6 million felines versus 77.5 million dogs. Yet the American Humane Association estimates that nearly three-quarters of cats who enter shelters are euthanized.

The Morris Foundation had been meeting with different groups concerned about cats, says Patricia Olson, D.V.M., the foundation’s president and CEO. “It seemed that the pet industry was very interested in people who have cats to see if they could be persuaded to take one more. ... But I thought it would be fun for our foundation to gather some information about why people don’t have them in the first place,” she says.

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