UK Pet Food Reveals More Men Adopting Adult Cats: New Pet Population Data 2024

Paw-some new pet population data released by UK Pet Food
Whiskers twitch as report reveals that more men are adopting adult cats

Today, UK Pet Food (formerly Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) unveils its NEW Pet Population Report for 2024 (1). The research reveals a noteworthy gender difference in pet adoption demographics with more men opting to adopt adult cats.  Findings also highlight the huge value that pets bring to our lives.

Over the past four years, 27% of men have chosen to take on an adult cat as a pet, compared to 18% of women (2).  This translates to 1.5m new male households benefiting from the addition of an adult cat, compared to around 1m female households.  For the first time since the pandemic puppy and kitten boom, UK Pet Food data notes an appreciation for mature pets across all demographics, with a total of around 2.5m households acquiring adult cats and adult dogs have been welcomed into 2.1 million households (3).

Key highlights from the report include:

  • 17.2 million households (60%) house one of the UK’s 36 million (non aquatic) pets in 2024 (4)

  • There are 13.5 million dogs and 12.5 million cats in the UK in 2024 – an increase of 1.5m each

  • 38% welcomed a new pet into 10.9 million homes over the last four years (5).

  • Kittens and puppies welcomed into 2.6 million and 3.7 million households respectively over recent years.

  • Fish are also swimming up the charts in 21% of UK homes.

The report confirms that emotional benefits appear to be a strong draw for pet ownership with around one quarter of owners admitting that they enjoy time with their pet more than with their family members. Over a third (39%) confirm that their pet benefits their family’s mental health, around one half of owners over 45 would be lonely without their pet and one fifth would like to see pets available on prescription.

Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive of UK Pet Food, comments: “This year’s findings prove again the huge popularity of pets in the UK.  As the owner of an older cat, I was particularly interested to see that more men are adopting older cats! There could be all sorts of reasons for the increasing popularity of our furry and aquatic companions, but this year’s research highlights the profound therapeutic impact of pets. Pets play a significant role in our homes; they help combat loneliness and they can have a positive effect on our mental health. We were pleasantly surprised to see that one fifth of those questioned are calling for pets to be available on prescription. We couldn’t agree more.”

Daniel Warren-Cummings, Behaviour Officer at Cats Protection and owner of Lady Bug the cat, said: “Cats have always been a popular choice of pet but we’re particularly delighted to see that more men are seeing the benefits of older cats, as well as kittens. Just like humans, cats are all different and this is what makes them great pets for people from all walks of life – whether its indoor cats suited to living in a quiet home, or more adventurous ones, which thrive in a busy household, and love exploring the outdoors. We often hear from men who tell us their cats are not only great companions, they’re also incredibly entertaining which can be a great stress-buster.”

Chris Whatling, Founder of Animal People Recruitment explains why he adopted older cats: “Harper and Bear became cherished members of our family over eight years ago when we adopted them from Cramar Cat Sanctuary in Birmingham. After a heart-wrenching experience with our previous rescue kittens, who unfortunately succumbed to FIP6, we turned to rehoming older black kittens that find it harder to find a home. Harper and Bear’s unconditional love and gentle nature have filled our lives with joy and healing. Their presence has been integral to our well-being, and now, with Rodney, our beloved Cavapoo, our family feels complete. Rodney’s companionship not only brings immense joy but also significantly contributes to our mental and physical health through daily walks, fostering a deeper sense of connection and vitality in our lives.”


Based on extensive research across 8956 households, the UK’s pet population:

  • 60% of UK households (17.2m) households 36 million non-aquatic pets

  • 13.5 million dogs (36% households)

  • 12.5 million cats (29%)

  • 1.5 million indoor birds (3%)

  • 1.3 million domestic fowl (1.6%)

  • 1 million rabbits (1.6%)

  • 700,000 tortoises and turtles (1.6%)

  • 700,000 horses & ponies (1.5%)

  • 700,000 Guinea Pigs (1.2%)

  • 600,000 hamsters (1.5%)

  • 600,000 snakes (1.3%)

This year’s Pet Population data is featured as part of the comprehensive ‘Pet Data Report,’ offering insights into UK population data, regional trends, market data, pet nutrition research and more. For further details, visit

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