ID Tags and Licenses

Our pets are an important part of our families, yet animal shelters throughout the country take in millions of lost cats and dogs each year.

  • Less than three out of every 100 lost cats are reclaimed by their guardians, and usually only one of those three has an identification tag or microchip.
  • Dogs without ID don't fair much better with less than 25 percent making it back home.

Don't risk losing your friend forever.

A combination of a properly fitting collar and ID tag with your most current contact information, a microchip for permanent identification (also with your most current info), and keeping your companion properly confined are the best insurance policies you can provide to keep your animal friend safe.

Up-to-date ID tags which include a cell phone number are also the best way to reunite you and your pet in the event of a natural disaster or an accident. Many cities and counties require a current government license. This, too, is a helpful tool in the event of an emergency, as government records are often the first to be accessed. Read more tips on disaster preparedness.

Common reasons why guardians feel their pets do not need ID:

  1. My pet is always indoors or confined.
    Even "indoor-only" pets need tags. Window screens fall out, doors/gates get left open, and an accident, disaster or theft could occur. In each of these situations identification will help reunite you and your pet. Read how to protect your beloved pet from being stolen by an animal abuser or others with harmful intentions.
  2. My cat hates wearing a collar.
    There are collars made especially for cats with a short piece of elastic sewn in. These "break-away" collars can be buckled snugly around the cat's neck, but will stretch and let the cat escape if it should get hung up on a tree limb or fence. You may purchase one of these types of collars at PAWS.

    Many more cats have died because they were lost and their owners couldn't find them, than have ever been injured from wearing a collar. To help your cat adjust to her collar, give her a catnip-filled toy the first time you put it on your cat. The toy will distract the cat's attention from the odd feeling of wearing a collar and by the time she finishes playing with the toy, she may have forgotten the collar entirely.
  3. My pet has a tag so why should he be microchipped?
    Collars and tags are often taken off our pets when bathing, swimming, etc. Microchips, unlike collars and tags, cannot come off and give you an extra "insurance policy" should your pet become lost. Microchips can be easily scanned by animal control officers, shelters or veterinary clinics so that lost pets can be quickly reunited with their family. Most veterinary clinics can microchip and register your companion with a national database service for a one-time fee of under $50. Learn more about microchips.

Pet licenses

Most communities now require your pet to be licensed within 30 days of moving into the area. An up-to-date license issued in Washington State may also extend the legal holding period for a stray cat or dog who is in a shelter. The extended holding time given to a licensed animal can make a huge difference in getting you reunited with your pet.

PAWS sells pet licenses for Seattle, Mountlake Terrace, King County and the communities that use their licensing. Seattle and King County licenses are also sold at PAWS Cat City. Licenses for other areas can be purchased through your local government.

For current licensing fees and requirements, please refer to the communities' websites:

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