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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Apr 15;234(8):1023-30. doi: 10.2460/javma.234.8.1023.

Population characteristics and neuter status of cats living in households in the United States.

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  • 1Alley Cat Allies Inc, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.



To gather data on cats living in US households, document their neuter status, and identify demographic characteristics associated with neuter status.


Cross-sectional, random-digit-dial telephone survey.


1,205 adults in the continental United States contacted between April 24, 2007, and May 14, 2007.


Information was gathered by means of computer-assisted telephone interviews. Multivariate logit analysis was used to identify demographic characteristics significantly associated with neuter status.


383 of 1,205 (31.8%) respondents reported having at least 1 cat at the time of the survey, yielding an estimated population of 82.4 million cats living in 36.8 million US households. Overall, 680 of 850 (80.0%) cats were reportedly neutered. Of the 371 neutered female cats, 303 (81.7%) had reportedly been neutered before having any litters. Proportion of cats that were neutered differed significantly across annual family income groups, with 96.2% (231/240) of cats in households with annual family incomes >or= $75,000 being neutered, 90.7% (231/254) of cats in households with annual family incomes between $35,000 and $74,999 being neutered, and only 51.4% (123/239) of cats in households with annual family incomes < $35,000 being neutered.


Findings suggested that a high percentage (80.0%) of cats living in households in the United States were neutered and that annual family income was the strongest predictor of whether cats in the household were neutered. The present study did not attempt to address stray and feral cats, which represent a substantial but unknown percentage of the total US cat population.

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