For dog, cat and other pet owners in the city of Seattle, having a pet license is a necessity. But the numbers of owners that license their pets are low.

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So contributing to a pet blog, eh? Well, my first thought was that I’m going to need some resources, but it didn’t take much time meandering around the Web for me to figure out I was going to need more than that.

On the animals and pets page of the Seattle City website I found out what I’ve been neglecting to learn for a decade, that by law I need to license my cats. So why didn’t I know this before?


It’s official. My Japanese shorthair, Niki is an illegal no more.

Well, maybe its that I’m busy or daft or any of a half dozen other reasons, but I’ve been skirting the law and keeping unregistered pets. It seems pretty clear, however, that I’m not alone. According to numbers provided by the Seattle Animal Shelter, there are over 110,000 unlicensed dogs and nearly 150,000 unlicensed cats in Seattle.

That calculates out to be a 26.9 percent compliance rate for dogs by their owners and only a 14.5 percent compliance rate for cats when it comes to licensing. That works out to roughly one in five pets being registered.

Robin Klunder, Operations Manager for the Seattle Animal Shelter, thinks the reason people might not comply with registration rules differs for dog owners and cat owners. She suggested that my situation of just not knowing is probably more common with cat owners.

“I think most people know that dogs are supposed to be licensed,” said Klunder, “but they think that tags or microchips are enough if their pet is lost.

Klunder said another reason cat owners don’t register is that they consider their pet to be an indoor-only cat, and they are thinking that their pet will never face the situation of being lost.

That left me wondering about the different reasons people have for not licensing pets, so to let readers get involved I’m including a poll. And the good thing about this poll is that if you have a reason that we didn’t think to add, you can add it yourself:

I’ve also included a simpler poll just to compare licensed vs. unlicensed for readers of this post: