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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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  • sdorrian profile image

    sdorrian 9 years ago from Chicago

    Great Hub! It's interesting to see the differences between how pets are treated in different countries. As a cat lover, you might be interested in what's going on in China. They are rounding up all their cats and sending them to death camps so they won't have strays wandering around during the Beijing Olympics. Check out my hub.

  • profile image

    denisek102 9 years ago

    Was this article part of a fifth grade school project? It's poorly written and grammatically atrocious. Spell check, people! Spell check! It contains some interesting content, but the grammar and spelling errors are so distracting that I couldn't concentrate on the article itself.

  • profile image

    Chisuun 9 years ago

    What?? Are you serious? This isn't even close to cat care in America! Where did you get your facts from?

  • profile image

    PSlvrs 8 years ago

    I realize this is a bit late but I've learned to hate cats living in England, I'm from America. I do agree that your facts aren't completely accurate but not happy at all if that is how England feels about cats. You let a cat wonder and it makes your neighbors responsible for your cat. As you know, our weather in England is usually rainy or windy and I love the opportunity to leave my door open on nice warm day. However, my neighbors cats always come in and then jump on my counters. If this was a dog (they are wild as well) they would be taken away and fined. Wrong to let cats out of the owner's garden. That should be the law that way they get outside.

  • LondonGirl profile image

    LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

    It's really uncommon for cats to be kept indoors - and you are right, most people see it as cruel.

    In law, people aren't responsible for their cats, unlike dogs.

  • nicko guzman profile image

    nicko guzman 8 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

    Simply not true.Declawing is no longer such a huge practice.

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    Zimpo 7 years ago

    Actually more cats are neutered in the UK (about 91%) and we do not have as bad an overpopulation problem as in the USA. All rescue centres here are 'no-kill' whereas in the USA the problem is so big that some unwanted cats have to be killed.

  • Will Apse profile image

    Will Apse 4 years ago

    I'm originally from the UK and now have cats in Thailand. Out here there are snakes, giant centipedes, scorpions and an awful lot of stray dogs. I don't like keeping my cats inside but I would just worry about them too much otherwise. Neutering is essential (I think most people in the UK would agree with that).

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