Catonomics: the business of cats - why felines sell more

It’s World Cat Day. And Silly Season. All in all, we think it’s a good time to look at some cat stats

Judge me all you will, world, but I am a cat person and proud of it. I’ve loved many a cat in my lifetime and have not even cared - that much - that only a fraction of them have loved me back.

Why would a woman still on the right side of 30 dedicate so much time, attention and YouTube viewing hours to these unfriendly felines, you may ask? But it is simple - cats are AWESOME and just way better than dogs. After all, dog lovers - numbers don’t lie (apart from maybe once George Osborne has had a fiddle with them).

Now, ol’ Gideon is a notorious cat lover, letting his furry friend Freya run all around the power-brokering parts of town, but I expect he has been too busy with the GDP stats to trawl the web, fixing it in favour of cats.

So to honour and celebrate World Cat Day today, I thought I would dredge up some cat stats and general business facts to put dogs and their owners firmly back in their box.

Cats have outnumbered dogs in Britain since 1992, and a decade ago there were estimated to be over a million more pet cats (7.5 million) than dogs (6.1 million) in the UK. Dogs only edged ahead two years ago to end the decades of supremacy, with dogs now in the numerical lead by a whisker. But as cats are smarter - they know how to pee in a box, so don’t even try to debate me on that one - I’m going to put good money on them edging ahead again soon. Meeeoow to that.

Cats are the Mad Men of the pet world – they sell!  

Not only have cats almost single-handedly helped Buzzfeed get tens of millions of loyal fans – the site had 40 million in January and looks like it could hit 90 million by the end of the year - they have also helped launch countless brands, and win consumer hearts the world over.

Research has shown that if you want to go viral, you have to go cat. Out of the 100 most viewed online cat and dog videos, in 2012 the top cat videos had 1.6 billion views, in contrast to dogs’ 1 billion. They also got people commenting more, and 2.3 million comments were left on feline flicks, vs just 1 million comments on the doggie clips.

Just look at the “Be More Dog” O2 advert. Its tabby-wannabe canine cat is probably the best advert out there at the moment, getting 385,000 YouTube views in less than 48 hours. It’s now had more than 2.5 million in the space of a month.

O2 loves cats

If you don’t believe me, just ask John St, the world’s first Catvertising expert agency, that says by 2014 the internet will be 90% cat.


And if you’re not convinced there is also Kittywood, which is embroiled in a fierce rivarly (or, if you are partial to a pun, a cat fight) with John St over which firm thought of the concept first.


Cats are just soooooo showbiz, don’t you know?!

Spinning off from the internet sensation world, into the (only just marginally) more high-brow world of CNN and Hollywood, also leads us into the unadulterated domination of cats.

Stage cats owned the West End scene for more than two decades. Before closing in 2002, Cats the musical grossed £136m in London alone and was seen by eight million people. Globally it made about £1.4bn, although this figure would be a fair bit more if calculated in today’s terms.

Fast-forward a decade and this year’s top internet sensation has arguably been yet another feline – Grumpy Cat.

Grumpy Cat

So far its YouTube Channel has over 120,000 subscribers and over 20 million views plus a whole range of spin-off memorabilia honouring the sour-faced kitty. Le Grump is also now being contracted to star in her own blockbuster movie to rival the likes of Garfield. As dog lovers have not really given us anything since Lassie, and since people who are young enough to not remember the world without the internet don’t know who Lassie is, dogs have a whole lot of catching up to do in that respect.

Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat has a movie deal, t-shirt franchise and even her own plate collection - which is huge in Japan right now.

Cat-nepreneurs are on the prowl in London town

London cat businesses are booming, presumably because we can’t get enough of them!

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium won over our hearts and our wallets earlier this year when the venture secured more than £108,000 in crowd-funding from pet-lovers. It will be opening soon in Shoreditch and has had so much press already, it should make the royal baby seriously reconsider its true calling.

Meanwhile the luxury cat hotel chain Longcrofts is exploding. It allows us to leave our four-legged friends in luxury while we go on holiday and offers cats their own rooms with four-poster beds and en-suite sand facilities as standard. We spoke to Longcrofts founder Abi Purser not that far back about how she is growing the chain across London.

luxury cat hotel

Oh, and not only are cats smarter than dogs - cat-owners are smarter than dog-owners. Seriously

A 2010 UK poll of 2,524 households found that 47.2% of cat-owning households had at least one person educated to degree level. However, only 38.4% of dog-owning homes had a graduate. In case you’re a dog-owner, I’ll do the math for you – that’s a difference of almost 10%.

So no more raising your eyebrows at cat lovers celebrating World Cat Day!

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