Millennials: Changing Trends In Pet Ownership



According to Census Bureau estimates, millennials (people born 1980-mid-2000s), or Gen Y, now comprise a quarter of the country’s population, making them the largest generation in the U.S., outnumbering baby boomers.

The 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by American Pet Products Association (APPA), shows millennials now comprise 35% of all pet owners. What’s more, millennials comprise more than 1/2 the reptile, small animal and saltwater fish owners nationwide.

Why Millennials Are Choosing Cats

Pet Product News International states that in a recent survey of 1000 U.S. millennials, nearly 1/2 of them have a cat as a pet.  Sources attribute the millennial focus on cats to busy lifestyles, career focus and the delay in having children.  It’s becoming more common for single men to own cats, too.  Gone is the stigma of cats not being a “masculine” pet, and it’s not longer as unusual to see stories about “crazy cat guys.”

This generation is concerned with their health and that of their pets.  They place a high value on products that are top quality.  Millennials are more concerned with the sourcing and ingredients in pet food and supplies.  They’ve often done their research to determine the best and safest products and are willing to pay more for them.

Pet Retailer Changes To Attract Millennial Consumers

Cat lovers have traditionally been frustrated at the lack of offerings for cats in pet supply stores.  Many stores often allocate little space for cat products compared to dog products. With the new millennial trend toward cats as pets, savvy pet retailers are making changes.

Pet supply retailers are embracing the millennial trend.  They’re increasing the size of their cat sections and adding more cutting-edge products that are more appealing to this well-informed market.  This generation is looking for products that enhance the lives of their cats, not just perform a function.

Stores are focusing on providing an interactive shopping experience.  Customers can see what the experience with products would be for their cat.  Many retailers are now offering more education on cat health and nutrition.

Other Pet Guardian Statistics

The 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey also revealed information about how people feel about their pets:

  • 61% feel buying a pet product made in the USA is important
  • 85% of pet guardians believe pets are a good source of affection
  • 82% believe interacting with a pet helps them relax
  • 81% feel unconditional love for their pet
  • 81% are aware owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health


As more research is published identifying the value of cat guardianship, hopefully this connection between millennials and cats will continue to grow.  Cats are great companions, and this trend can bring greater focus to the benefits of cat guardianship.

This post has been republished from an earlier version to include new content and format changes.

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.