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Differences Between Keeping Cats In America And England

Updated on November 4, 2007
In the UK or the USA, the cat is king.
In the UK or the USA, the cat is king.

This writer has lived on both sides of the pond and, although the two countries are equal in their love for cats, they are different in the way they care for their cats. Also, on the whole, American cats are much larger and sleeker than their British cousins, although there has been considerable cross breeding in both countries. In America, cats have adapted to the dangers of modern life, while in England, they are still mostly kept as they have been for centuries.

Indoor Vs Outdoor

Although granted, America is a huge country, the majority of cats spend their lives indoors. The British see this as sad and unnatural, and the majority of cat owners let their cats roam at will, going in an out of the home via a pet door or "cat flap" (which was invented by Sir Issac Newton). It is estimated that only 10% of British cats are indoor only cats.

However, the English lifestlye is far different than that of America. There aren't any natural predators of cats left in England (except man). So far, the phenomenon known as "gridlock" has only begun to happen in the past seven years. Traffic is usually quite quiet in a good portion on England (those not on the motorways). However, if the traffic situation increases, perhaps more British cats will have to remain indoors.

It is very rare that a cat can survive for very long as an outdoor cat in America. Not only is traffic a major concern, but also the presence of cat-eating coyotes. Even worse, though, are what people have been known to do to cats in America. Cats are often the targets of cruel "pranks" or shot dead for "fun".

In most parts of America, it is still legal for biological research supply companies to buy cats used for reaseach and classroom dissection from any source possible -- including from those who steal cats, or by answering "free to good home" ads.

If you let your cat wander in America, the cat will soon be dead.


Declawing is just not done in England, unless it is part of an emergency amputation procedure. Most English vets consider decalwing a cat "cruel." Considering that English cats spend a large part of their time outdoors, climbing trees and running from dogs, they really do need their claws for self-defence.

In America, declawing is not only common, it is sometimes the only way of keeping a cat alive. Some apartments will only allow declawed cats. Since most American cats live the majority -- if not their entire lives indoors, their claws are a luxury and not a necessity in order to survive.

Most declawings are for the front paws only. Cats adapt very quickly to life without them, but will still make scratching motions on the furniture of anywhere else. Contrary to popular belief, declawing does NOT make a cat a biter. If the declawed cats are given proper nutrition, plenty of TLC, a window to look out of and regular exercise, then they will lead comfortable, contented lives.


In this last point of the differences between owning a cat in England and in America, they are rapidly coming to a consensus. Both countries have a tremendous cat overpopulation problem. 84% of all cats in America are neutered, spayed or "fixed". Although this writer could not find a corresponding specific percentage for English cats, the number is considerably less.

I only lived in the South West and Southeast of England, and many pets owners I encountered thought taking away a pet's powers of reproduction was somehow ethincally wrong. Even Watership Down author Richard Adams' main canine characters condemed spaying in his book The Plague Dogs, although that book was mainly against animal research and is highly recommended reading.

Once you've lived with a neutered or spayed animal and see how well they enjoy life, it's a wonder we don't neuter ourselves in order to get the health and relaxation benefits, as well as giving the planet's resources a breather. It is the thought of having yourself "fixed" (especially for males) that puts some owners in England off getting their cats fixed. They think they are next in line. However, cats do not put a very high priority on the sexual act and can happily live satisfying lives without engaging in mating.

A sound lesson for us all.

In Conclusion

Both England and America are cat loving nations with very high cat populations. They also have numerous cat-helping charities and have passed and enforced cat cruelty laws. Both spend millions of their respective currencies on cat food, cat litter and cat health care. When a cat is born in England or America, chances are he or she will have a lucky life, indeed.


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