As of January 1, 2012, Washington State requires that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies. Under Wa state law WAC 246-100-197, all dogs, cats, and ferrets in WA must have up-to-date rabies vaccines.

According to a rabies surveillance study reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association in September 2008, it was found that cats were nearly four times more likely to have rabies than dogs. It is possible that this is because they are vaccinated less, presented for veterinary care less frequently, and roam outdoors unsupervised more often than dogs. Additionally, cats may find it more difficult to resist investigating a sick, fluttering bat than their canine counterparts, and often such encounters are not witnessed.