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Capitol Hill cat cafe credited with helping boost King County pet adoption

A sleepy moment inside Neko

King County says it has been able to boost its pet adoption rate to 92% thanks to partnerships with pet stores and a new trend of cat-focused businesses — including Capitol Hill’s Neko Cafe.

The adoption rate has risen from a sad 51% in 2003, the county reports.

“The latest milestone is the result of several strategies, including partnering with cafes and pet stores to make it easier to adopt cats, starting a new dog playgroup to help staff and volunteers better assess a dog’s behavior, revamping the volunteer program, and significantly increasing the number of pets that are licensed,” a King County announcement on the happy numbers reads.

Neko opened in November E Pine and Belmont where its corner has become a popular place to “window shop” sleeping kitties. The cafe’s cats come from the King County animal shelter, are all ages, and feline leukemia positive. “We wanted the cats that needed the most help,” Neko’s creator Caitlin Unsell told CHS at the opening. “We wanted to give them a chance to show their best.”

Regional Animal Services of King County reports that it connected 2,992 animals to new families in 2017, up from 2,467 the previous year. “The 20% increase required innovative work by the staff and volunteers, such as partnering with local cafes and pet stores to make it more convenient for people to adopt cats,” the agency says.

Executive Dow Constantine last year signed an agreement with 24 King County cities to provide “animal services” for the next decade.

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