The Great Cat Census – from The Office for National Catistics

It’s out!  The Cat Census is a survey that happens every nine lives and gives us a picture of cat households in The Republic of Cats (okay, well over 500 felines and their families from across the UK), with results polled over the weekend of 13 and 14 November 2021.

Humans were asked a range of questions about their fluffy contemporaries, generally and by breed, covering behaviour and lifestyles, attitudes, ‘ease of use’ and more.  The following fascinating furry findings are revealed, in this, the first snapshot of leonine life around the country…


Social beasties – or not?

With thoughts turning to family and friends gatherings (and they’ll be BIG this year), cats will mainly remain their imperious selves.  When throwing dinner parties or shindigs over two thirds (68 per cent) of humans predict their furry friends won’t go out of their way to socialise, or won’t show their face at all (“some people don’t even believe I HAVE a cat!”)  Or, they might hang around for a bit, but stroking them is off the table. 



Although two thirds of Cat Census cats were house cats, the others had the opportunity of going out hunting to deliver ‘presents’ to their humans.  The most generous were Bengals (15 per cent gifted #randomactsofcatness every week), as did 15 per cent of calico-coloured cats, but nearly half of domestic shorthairs came home with ‘dead or alive’ bounty every now and then. 



‘Zoomies’, the furry phenomenon when a puss suddenly takes off round the room, ricocheting off the walls like a banshee is also reported. Bouncing Bengals are the keenest: 31 per cent never stop – it’s all day, every day for them. But more generally cats put in a mad mini-marathon for a couple of minutes after breakfast (36 per cent do this).  Conversely, a quarter of domestic longhairs never give it a thought – and catnap 24/7.

Perfect playmates?  Half of all pusses are “always inventing their own games”, while this increases to just over six in 10 for mischievous Maine Coons and the same number of snowy white cats.  60 per cent of sniffy Ragdolls on the other hand will only play when they’re played with – and one in five of them ignore all attempts by their humans to play.

When it comes to teaching cats tricks half of all humans said: “You’re joking, right? Absolutely not!” Most likely contenders though were Bengals, according to 31 per cent of their humans – and 15 per cent of them would sit on command. Most popular trick for all cats was meowing on demand (10 per cent), while an athletic two per cent consent to rolling over.


And do they care about you (or just themselves) anyway?

Sweetly, almost two thirds of kitties will be sat by the door awaiting the return of a human who’s been out for a couple of hours. Tearjerking stuff which really does belie their standoffish reputations. Bengals are the most cuddle hungry and apparently high maintenance of all the breeds, don’t say we didn’t warn you – 92 percent wait patiently for a cuddle, followed by 59 per cent of domestic longhairs.

Nearly one in three of domestic shorthairs might come and say hello, or they might not, mood dependent and nothing guaranteed so take it when you can. While 10 per cent of Ragdolls literally don’t care, try not to take it too personally, you’re literally there to serve their greatness, nothing more.

With almost as many personality traits as there are names, Britain’s kittens will always be truly special individuals; each and every one of them, whether they choose to show you affection or not, we like to think they all love you really.


Cat care

In terms of care, they’re a pretty easy bunch.  A third of all humans said their fur pal was ‘set and forget’ and that they take care of itself.  This jumped to nearly 60 per cent with domestic shorthairs.  A further quarter just need ‘a little brush every now and then’.  But half of all sophisticated Sphynxes have a bath as part of their beauty regime and, understandably (given they’re hairless), go near them with a brush and 100 per cent would be furious.  

Around a third of domestic shorthairs and Maine Coons can’t get enough pampering.  60 per cent of Ragdolls need it, but do they like it?  We’ll never know.


Anger management

In the stroppy stakes one in five humans reported that their Ragdolls bit them: “all the time; I’m covered in scratches”, compared with ALL the calm and kindly Scottish Folds who “wouldn’t hurt a fly”.  And rather than being hot-tempered red-heads, most gingers also fall into this camp.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) of humans reported ABSO cats.  Their happy hairy hooligans trashed the house, with comments including: “All my furniture has been mauled; not happy” and “I couldn’t re-sell my sofa, put it that way”.  Worst offenders, by far, were Maine Coons; 14 per cent were ‘maulers’.  Best behaved (again) were Scottish Folds.  And naughty torties were the most unruly by colour (21% had it in for the soft furnishings), with brown cats being goody two-shoes (30 per cent are “perfect”).



Cat humans will recognise the scene: a glass sitting temptingly close to the edge of a table.  But what does kitty do? Half of Sphynx humans say it’ll be “on the floor in no time”, as do those with wayward white cats.

Ragdolls might be a bit fluffy in the brain, as well as body because one in 10 have regular ‘accidents’; according to their humans: “peeing and pooping all darned day – why do we even bother having a litter box?”  Fortunately though, three quarters of ALL cats are clean as a whistle; this has never happened and home is a ‘poop-free zone’.  And if it did happen, it was generally a total accident, occurring only when they were nervous or scared.


The dog debate

Given so many respondents were house cats it’s not surprising that 41 percent hadn’t seen a dog in their life.  Of the others, it is moggies that freak out: 27 per cent of domestic shorthairs and 28 per cent of domestic longhairs would not go in the same room: it’s Pure. Hate.  But the purebreds rise above all that: 29 per cent of Maine Coons, 30 per cent of Ragdolls and 50 per cent of Sphynxes love a canine companion.  They’re best mates.

Cat behaviour research conducted with over 500 Republic of Cats cats from 13-14 November 2021.

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