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The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH


Miaow good news as cats claw their way into the affections of men

Miaow good news as cats claw their way into the affections of men

PFMA releases its Top Ten Pets Chart and announces a growth in the cat population.

Today, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) releases its NEW Pet Data Report confirming a 500,000 rise in the cat population, which now stands at 8 million[i].  This increase is largely driven by a rise of over 25% in the number of men owning cats (approx. 1m more men)[ii]. This year, PFMA publishes the data results following interviews with over 8000 UK households[iii] in its exciting new Pet Data Report[iv]. Key findings include:


  • 12 million households (44% of UK households) have a pet.
  • There are 54 million pets in the UK (33 million fish and 21 million non-aquatic).
  • The cat population has increased by around half a million.
  • Over a third of households with children said they would consider a small mammal as a pet[v].


The cat-owning household figure has risen from 17.1% (4.8m) in 2016 to 18.3% (5.1m) in 2017.

Interestingly, more men now own cats, up from 13% in 2016 to 17% in 2017.  More young people own cats with those aged 16-34 up 3% plus those aged 35-44 up 2%.


Cats Protection’s Social Media Manager, Gemma Croker, said: “Cats have always been on social media but we have definitely noticed more men openly expressing their love for their feline friends. We now see more male celebrities talking about their cats such as our supporter The Vamps’ James McVey (cat Mickey), Ed Sheeran (Graham) and Russell Brand (Morrissey)[vi]. It is possible that this trend may have triggered an increase in popularity for cats among the general male population, which is great news for rehoming cats.”


Michael Bellingham PFMA Chief Executive “Pet ownership is a rewarding experience for everyone.  It’s wonderful to see that men are realising the huge benefits of pets with an increase in cat ownership in this sector.  Our research also showed 38% of families with children were considering a small mammal so its good news for all pets!


We have now been conducting our research with TNS since 2008 and have seen many changes in the pet population. We are delighted that in spite of the challenges presented to pet ownership, our population is stable with a 4% increase to 12 million households owning a pet.” 


PFMA’s top ten pets for 2017 are:

15-20 million fish kept in tanks

15-20 million fish kept in ponds

8.5 million dogs

8 million cats

900,000 rabbits

700,000 pet birds

700,000 reptiles

600,000 domestic fowl

500,000 guinea Pigs

300,000 hamsters


This year our Top Ten Pets is published as part of a detailed ‘Pet Data Report’, which includes regional data, pets per household, first pets, pet nutrition research, UK market data and much more. The report can be viewed online:   




For more information and male cat-owning case studies, please contact Nicole Paley or Michael Bellingham on 0207 379 9009 or or





[i] Exact cat population 2016/17 8 million, 2015/2016 7.4m giving an increase of ca 500,000

[ii] Male cat ownership has grown from 13% (4.2m men) in 2016 to and 17% (5.5m men) in 2017. The difference is around 1.33m. Solus Consulting confirm this growth can be quoted as 1m / 25% growth.  This estimate is based on ONS published UK population data 2014/2015, 2011 census and PFMA pet surveys 2016/17.

[iii] Each year a representative sample of UK adults are interviewed by TNS / Solus Consulting, in face-to-face interviews, regarding their pet ownership. Since 2014, a sample of over 4,000 people have been interviewed. In order to further reduce statistical uncertainty, survey results are averaged over 2 years, giving an effective sample of over 8,000 people. 

[iv] PFMA’s new Pet Data Report 2017 can be viewed in full at

[v] Small mammals include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters – all small mammals

[vi] Famous cats and male owners include: Larry the Downing Street cat and ex prime minister David Cameron, Russell Brand and Morrissey, Ricky Gervais and Ollie, David Bowie, George Clooney, John Travolta, Nicholas Cage, Ewan McGregor…

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