It’s a cat’s world out there. Feline faces are invading pop culture everywhere you look, from movies and art to clothes and even Internet celebrities. The tech-savvy Millennial generation has ushered in a new era, one in which cats are taking the social media (and beyond) by storm. Some of the things that have helped cats rule the Internet have also made them a favorite pet among animal lovers born from the early 1980s to the mid-2000s. Millennials love cats, and there are a few very good reasons why.
The statistics are closely guarded so it’s hard to say whether young people own more cats, but recent studies by firms such as GfK show that Millennials are now the most pet-loving generation of them all. An estimated 57% of Millennial households own an animal (compared to 51% of households in general). But it’s not enough simply to have a cat. Millennials are also very involved pet owners. Their feline (and canine) companions are more than just animals; they’re valued family members, roommates, and best friends.
In general, Millennials spend more money on their pets than previous generations, not only on the animals themselves but also on their care. They are heavily invested in researching purchases, seeking out the best products of the highest quality, and are always eager to discover the newest technology in pet care and beyond. They are also on the whole very “visible” pet owners, so you can thank them for all the adorable cat photos and videos we enjoy every day.
The popularity of cats among Millennials is likely the result of social and economic changes related to the economic downturn of the 2000s. As many Millennials we approaching adulthood, they found themselves in the midst of unexpected changes and a frequently unstable job market. Nearly a decade later, they are now finding success in their careers and family, frequently by changing their professional trajectories and exploring opportunities once considered unconventional to the previous generation. Many have found themselves moving frequently (sometimes even living with their parents), changing jobs and schedules, and interacting with a wide array of friends and colleagues. It’s no wonder then that animals became a source of comfort and happiness for Millennials during such periods of change.
Cats, with their independent personalities, high adaptability, and low maintenance needs, make for perfect companions in these situations. Their clean nature and small size frequently suited the apartments that became the Millennial dwelling of choice. Minimal grooming, training, and health needs ensured that supporting a kitty (or three) was within many young professionals’ budgets. With any number of colors, personalities, and quirks, Millennials can readily find a cat that reflects the personality and uniqueness they value. With the adoption of a rescue or shelter cat, pet ownership is even a way to support and champion the social consciousness that has become a hallmark of Millennials.