There are more cats in American households these days than any other pet (even dogs!) You could in fact say that the cat is "America's Pet". Let's take a look at a few interesting facts relating to our beloved felines and the United States of America.
Got a cat fact to add? Post it in a comment below, or just let us know what you think of the special connection Americans have with cats.
- The first members of the cat family in North America were Sabertooth tigers. Paleontologists believe these majestic felids inhabited the continent as early as 42 million years ago!
- The largest cat in the USA today is the cougar, also known as the mountain lion, puma, catamount or panther. Adult males can weigh up to 220 lbs!
- Cats probably first arrived in what is now the US with the first Europeans. There is no written indication of that, but we do know that cats were routinely kept on ships to keep rodents at bay.
- Some say one of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower had her pet cat's name written down inside her Bible, citing this as proof that cats came on board the Mayflower.
- Cats are mentioned in the folklore of some Native American tribes, but it's hard to tell if these were domesticated cats, brought to the continent by the Pilgrims, or wild bobcats which were taken in as kittens and raised as pets.
- At least eleven American presidents kept cats as pets while in office. Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton all had pet cats in the White House. Read more about Cats in the White House.
- At least one American town has a cat as mayor. As of 2017, 20-year-old Stubbs is still the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska. He's held that office ever since he was a four-month-old kitten!
- Quite a few cats have "served" in the US military, especially on board US warships during the First and Second World Wars. Here are some great stories about some of these cats.
- During the Cold War, the CIA intended to use cats as spies by implementing microphones in them. Millions of dollars went into the project - dubbed Acoustic Kitty - but it was eventually cancelled because the CIA discovered that cats were not easy to train.
- The number of pet cats in the United States in 2017 is estimated to be 95.6 million.
- The number of homeless cats (stray and feral) in the United States is estimated at 60 million.
- Every year, 3.2 million cats are surrendered to shelters in the United States. More than 800,000 of them are euthanized.
- Four cat breeds have the word "American" in their name: American Curl, American Bobtail, American Shorthair and American Wirehair.
- Two recognized cat breeds include the names of US states: the California Spangled Cat and the Maine Coon.
- Other breeds that are known to have originated in the USA include the Ragdoll, the Pixie-Bob, the Munchkin and the Exotic Shorthair.
- There are hundreds - possibly thousands - of stores in the US that specialize in selling cat-themed items.
- In autumn 2016, there were 39 library cats in the country, down from just over 200 twenty years ago. The numbers are declining due to complaints about cat allergies.