Cats are common pets in Europe and North America, and their worldwide population exceeds 500 million. Although cat guardianship has commonly been associated with women, a 2007 Gallup poll reported that men and women were equally likely to own a cat.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, as well as being kept as pets, cats are also used in the international fur trade, for making coats, gloves, hats, shoes, blankets and stuffed toys. About 24 cats are needed to make a cat fur coat. This use has now been outlawed in several countries, including the United States, Australia and the European Union. However, some cat furs are still made into blankets in Switzerland as folk remedies that are believed to help rheumatism.