In the United States, nearly one in three homes have a cat, totaling almost 70 million domestic feline pets. In England, the self-described country of animal-lovers, cats are the most popular pet in the nation and nearly one in four homes has a feline. Though the cat appreciation is similar, what aspects of pet ownership are different in other countries? A cat owner in Japan might view her pet differently than someone in Egypt or Norway. Though we seldom consider the cultural differences between to western countries such as the USA and Great Britain, when it comes to owning cats, as it turns out, there are many!

Differences in Pet Ownership Practices in the UK

Indoor/Outdoor Cats: Our readers may note that our perspective at is that cats should be primarily kept indoors for their own safety against critical diseases. Cats that able to roam freely outdoors subject themselves to predators and viruses passed by strays or feral cats, such as FIV (feline immunodeficiency Virus), feline leukemia, bartonellosis, ring worm, or rabies. Keeping a cat indoors might be looked down upon by the British (the majority of which allow their cats outside often), even though Americans keep cats indoors for their safety. (One interesting difference about England compared to America, is that there are fewer predators that would pose a threat to cats in the great outdoors. The only real worry would be birds of prey or large neighboring dogs. This could be one reason there is less of a necessity to keep cats inside.)

Declawing: Declawing is something many Americans do without even thinking about it, as a standard grooming procedure. The major assumption is that this is not painful for cats, which is actually not the case. Fortunately awareness is growing in the US about how detrimental and even torturous this is for a feline, so fewer people are do it. Great Britain is exemplary in this instance, as declawing is virtually unheard of.

Grooming & Preening: Not every cat enjoys taking a bath, but in America felines are bathed on a regular basis to keep their coat and paws fresh and clean. In the UK, bathing a cat is a last-resort that is only prioritized if the cat has gotten into a sticky situation outside, and is muddy or soiled in some way.
In the UK, most Brits also enjoy a “fancy dress” party (aka: a costume party), but you will almost never see their cats dressed up in a skirt or wig. Americans (as well as some Asian cultures) derive lots of entertainment from watching their cats walk around dressed in a silly get up. Need we remind you how ridiculous it is to see cats in costumes?

Insurance: Pet insurance is more expensive in Great Britain than it is in America, as are standard veterinary treatments. In America, insurance policies for pets generally cover roughly 50-80% of the procedure, which is not the case in the United Kingdom.

Pedigree: The Persian and the Siamese cats are the most popular cat breeds in America and in the United Kingdom, followed by the Maine Coon (in the US) and the British Shorthair (in England). However, in the UK about 90% of the cats are mixed breeds or what they could call “moggies” and only 10% of them are pedigree cat breeds. This is vastly different from the American domestic felines, of which 40% are purebreds.