Cato is a town in Cayuga County, New York, United States. The population was 2,537 at the 2010 census. The town is named after Cato the Elder, a Roman statesman. The name was assigned by the surveyors of the Military Tract, and is one of many towns and villages bearing classical place names.
The town was in the Central New York Military Tract, reserved for veterans of the American Revolution. Settlers trickled in during the early 19th century. After the War of 1812, the population increased more quickly.
The town was formed in 1802 from part of the town of Aurelius. Cato was subsequently reduced in size when new towns were formed: Sterling in 1812, and in 1821 Conquest, Ira, and Victory. Part of the town of Ira was returned to Cato in 1824.