COVID-19 Pandemic Increases Ranks of Cat Owners in Canada

Canadian cat owners aged 18-to-34 are evenly split on whether it is acceptable to physically discipline their pet.

Vancouver, BC [March 5, 2021] – Almost one-in-five Canadian cat owners decided to get their feline during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 35% of Canadians acknowledge that they currently have a cat in their home, including 38% of those aged 35-to-54, 48% of Atlantic Canadians and 41% of Quebecers.

Almost one-in-five Canadian cat owners (18%) say they have had their pet for less than a year, including 22% of women and 33% of those aged 18-to-34. More than two-in-five Canadian cat owners (45%) have had their pet for five years or more. 

In a similar Research Co. survey also conducted in February 2021, 11% of Canadian dog owners said they have had their pet for less than a year.

More than three-in-five Canadian cat owners (63%) decided to get a pet for companionship, while 39% acted because a family member wanted a cat.

Just under a third of Canadian cat owners (32%) sought fun and entertainment when they decided to get their pet, while 24% chose the animal because it is “low maintenance” and 10% got it in order to keep mice and wildlife away.

Cat owners in Alberta are significantly more likely than their counterparts in other provinces to say they acquired a cat for companionship (85%), for fun and entertainment (65%) and because it is a “low maintenance” pet (46%).

More than two-in-five Canadian cat owners (42%) say they adopted or rescued their feline from a shelter, while 18% received the cat as a gift, 13% purchased the cat at a store and 11% bought the cat directly from a breeder.

Half of Canadian cat owners who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2019 federal election (50%) say they adopted their pet from a shelter, compared to 39% among those who cast ballots for the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party (NDP) in that democratic process.

“The notion of receiving cats as gifts varies drastically across Canada,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “While 38% of Albertan cat owners say their feline was a gift, the proportion drops to 11% in Atlantic Canada and to 8% in British Columbia.”

Almost three-in-four Canadian cat owners (73%) think it is unacceptable to physically discipline their pet. While sizeable majorities of Canadian cat owners aged 55 and over (89%) and aged 35-to-54 (82%) consider it unacceptable to spank, beat or hit the animal, only 48% of those aged 18-to-34 share the same view.

Across the country, 96% of Canadian cat owners say they are “very satisfied” or “moderately satisfied” with their cat, and 79% acknowledge that their feline has been spayed or neutered.

A final question defined the soul as “the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life.” Four-in-five Canadian cat owners (81%) say that their pet has a soul, while 10% think it does not and 8% are undecided.

Results are based on an online survey conducted from February 25 to February 27, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.