Cat ownership facts in Australia

cat ownership facts in Australia

Estimated cat population 3.9 million in Australia. Photo: Chris Abney/

Around 5.7 million of Australia’s 9.2 million households are home to a pet, with many having more than one dog, cat, fish, bird, small mammal, reptile or some other type of pet as part of the family.

Cats are the second most common type of pet (after dogs), being found in 29% of Australian households.

There is an average of 1.4 cats per household and a total estimated population of almost 3.9 million. Three-quarters of cats owned in Australia are mixed breeds (76%), while the remainder are pure breeds (24%).

A quarter of cats have been acquired through animal shelters (25%), and 19% were from friends or neighbours.  Interestingly, the third most common source of cats was the street, with 15% saying their cats were strays. This was was higher than the proportion who bought their cats from a breeder (13%) or a pet shop (10%).

Pure breeds were more likely to have been purchased from a breeder (40%) or pet shop (17%), while mixed breeds were more likely to have been acquired from an animal shelter (29%), from friends or neighbours (22%), or were taken in as strays (19%).

Just over half (52%) of all cats were acquired for free, while 32% paid up to $200 and 5% paid more than $500. The estimated average price paid for a cat was $274. Pure breeds are more likely to have been bought for $200 or more (45%), with the estimated average cost of a pure bred cat being $401.

The majority of cats (59%) are kept both indoors and outdoors, while 34% are exclusively kept indoors and 7% are exclusively kept outdoors. Pure bred cats are more likely to be kept indoors (54%) and this is more likely to be by people who live in apartments or units (55%).

Key cat ownership facts in Australia

  • Cat population 3.9 million
  • Number of households with cats 2.7 million
  • Cat ownership (% of households) 29%
  • Average number per home 1.4
  • Cats per 100 people 16


Animal Medicines Australia report: Pet Ownership in Australia 2016.

About Animal Medicines Australia

Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) is the peak body representing the leading animal health companies of Australia.  As part of our role, AMA provides up-to-date data and information on trends to inform decision-making and policy development. This report is part of that work.