Are there pets in North Korea?

Kim Jong-un has a cat
Kim Jong-un has a cat! I am kidding of course. I think he hates cats.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

How are we going to know! It is the most secretive place on earth where they worship, as a god, an obese, chain-smoking shorty with a funny haircut who’s allegedly very ill.

Well, the best place to find out is the front page of the internet, Reddit. At least that is a good starting point.

Relying on visits to the country and first-hand sightings they tell us that there are very few cats and dogs in North Korea. The reason put forward is that the citizens of the country are generally so poor that they don’t have the means to feed a pet. They are starving. All the money the country earns goes on new nuclear missiles and feeding the tens of thousands of generals who follow their god-like leader with notepad and pencil recording every word he utters.

Apparently on one tourist tour the guide shouted, ‘Look a dog’ as he pointed one out which happened to be a toy poodle. He explained that he was excited to see the animal because tourists always ask why nobody has a dog. A Western guide on the bus said the poodle belonged to the French Consular’s wife! 🙂 .

One of the those who had visited the capital, Pyongyang, said that there was just one cat at a restaurant. The cat was cute and friendly….and very alone.

Perhaps one reason why there are so few cats and dogs is because they eat them as they are so damned starved.

I expect there to be cat and dog pets in North Korea but far less of them than in America or the West generally. There must be some feral cats and dogs too. There won’t be a ‘feral cat problem’ as is so often discussed in America (in N. Korea they’ve eaten them all). I’d expect cats to be rarer than dogs as dogs are more utilitarian and, in their eyes, more useful e.g., security. And of course, the relationship does not have the best of foundations as eating cats and dogs precludes them being pets. They are livestock instead.

North Korean stamp featuring a cat from 1991
North Korean stamp featuring a cat from 1991. Image: Alamy.

Update August 29, 2022: this page really has to be updated because Kim Jong-un has the power to make the pronouncements of a dictator and therefore change everything at a stroke. For example, on 29th of May 2022, I published an article about Kim Jong-un declaring war on cats because he feared that they brought Covid-19 to North Korea. He ordered the destruction of domestic and feral cats in the country together with pigeons.

The question is whether everybody complied with that order and either handed over their cats or allowed the authorities to enter their homes and kill their cats. We don’t know but clearly a large number of animals were slaughtered because of this madman’s dictatorial orders. I think in the entire world there are about four known cases of domestic cats passing on Covid to their owners. So, his demand was massively cruel and unwarranted.

And the news media reported in August 2020 that Kim Jong-un had ordered pet dogs in Pyongyang to be rounded up because they were perceived as a symbol of capitalist decadence. He announced that owning a pet was against the law and that having a dog at home was “a tainted trend of bourgeois ideology”. Pet owners thought that he wanted to round up pets in order to have them killed to feed the nation because they were starving.

A reporter in South Korea said: “Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down”. At the time it was reported that about 60% of North Korea’s 25.5 million people were facing widespread food shortages. And dog meat is considered to be a delicacy on the Korean peninsula. They cat and dog meat in South Korea which is meant to be a relatively civilised country; sadly, not on that basis.

I am sure that these orders from up on high affected the population size of cats and dogs in North Korea. Some must remain having escaped their slaughter but, common sense dictates, that the numbers must be low, far lower than is normal in the West as a proportion to population size.

You will find North Korean stamps (see above) featuring cats. They started to emerge in the 1970s. They range from propaganda images to cuddly fur babies. There are also stamps featuring dogs. There is one from 1987 which was issued for the International Circus Festival in Managua. The stamp carries a Pyongyang watermark. Obviously, we are going back a long time and things have changed in the country because of the madman’s dictatorship.

2 thoughts on “Are there pets in North Korea?”

  1. Mike Viktor Larkhill just dropped a new video. I think he has given up adopting out the disabled dogs after poor Dickens was dumped at the airport by his family. I will never believe anything bad people say about Viktor because he spends big money to save the most wretched dogs I have ever seen, most would have been put down by other rescues.
    Enjoy this most happy video, no smiling allowed.


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