How many stray cats are in America?

The number is currently estimated at about 58 million in the United States as of 2018, based on surveys, telemetry studies, numbers brought to shelters, etc. But this is a hard number to estimate. It could be as low as 35 million or as high as 75 million.

Stray, or feral cats are usually classified as a pest species due to their habits of occupying public places in high numbers, fighting and spraying. The most common complaints include the following:

  • Stray cats occupying public areas
  • Stray cats around facility dumpsters
  • During mating season, foul musk scent
  • Stray cats fighting or mating loudly
  • People concerned about stray cat population
  • Strays posing a threat to pet cat
For these reasons, many people wish to have stray, or feral, cats trapped and removed.


If you need to trap and transport stray cats, read my guide to stray cat trapping.

Click here for a nationwide list of 100's of professional stray cat trappers serving all 50 states.

How do you feel when you walk past a stray cat in the street that is obviously malnourished and in desperate need of a loving home? Do you want to help the cat by taking it home and making it your own, or taking it to the local shelter so that in time, it will find new owners? Or are you the kind of person that walks right on by, without so much as a sideways glance, thinking that it is someone else’s problem?

If you are the latter of the two, let me fill you in some facts. Firstly, over 50 million dollars per year, mostly made up of tax payer’s money, is spent on feral and stray pets – dogs, cats, etc. Do you still think it’s not your problem?

How about some more facts – Over 60 percent of all households in the United States have a pet of some sort, and around 85 million of these are cats. Thankfully, around a third of these cats are strays that have been given a new lease of life by some very nice pet-people.

The average cost of taking care of a cat will range from around six hundred dollars to nine hundred dollars per year. That doesn’t seem like a lot of money, does it? Still, despite this relatively low cost, there are still a large number of cats neglected and abandoned every year, with low income homes not being able to afford the poor little pets as well as their own family members. It is still believed that house cats will soon get back their feral instincts when they are released onto the streets, but in actual fact, this rarely happens and many of these neglected cats will simply die.

If you see a stray or feral cat, (feral cats are the wild offspring of strays) there are a number of things that you can do in order to prevent 50 million dollars of your tax paying money being spent on sorting out the problem. You can call local animal control authorities or shelters to grab the poor thing. This will lead to them either being put down because of lack of space, funding, or the cat just being in complete disrepair because of disease etc. Alternatively, they can be placed into a shelter where they will find new and happy homes by loving owners. Of course, there is another option – you can adopt the cat as your own by feeding it, loving it back to health and taking it to the vet to make sure that it is in tip top condition.

As a pet owner, you can remove the increasing costs of feral and stray cats by making sure that it has some form of identification, either in the form of a micro-chip or a collar with a plate that contains address, phone number details, etc. Also, you can help the situation by having your cat spayed or neutered. A breeding pair of cats over seven years can create over 400,000 babies – now that is a big problem!

Although there is no guaranteed figure to how many stray cats there are in the United States, there have been estimations to show that around 70 millio0n cats and kittens are present without owners or homes, either because they have become lost from their owners, or simply neglected and abandoned. Make the right decision and ensure that your cat doesn’t become one of these!

Here are some other articles about stray cats:
stray cat removal
how to catch a stray cat
catch neuter release of stray cats
common problems with stray cats
what to do if you find a litter of kittens

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