Two Pet Cats In New York
Test Positive For COVID-19

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On April 4, 2020, a Tiger At Bronx Zoo Tested Positive For COVID-19 followed by 3 more tigers and 3 lions at the zoo subsequently testing positive.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has now announced that two family pet cats in separate homes in New York state have tested positive for COVID-19.

Each cat exhibited only mild symptoms of respiratory illness and are expected to recover fully.

The first cat was tested by a veterinarian t after it showed mild respiratory discomfort. No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19. The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home.

In the case of the second feline, the owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat showing signs. Another cat in the same household has shown no signs of illness.

The testing used to confirm the cats were positive for coronavirus is different than the procedure used on humans.

A small number of pets outside the U.S. including a cat in Belgium and China have been reported to be infected with the virus after close contact with people with COVID-19 — but not the other way around.

New Study Confirms Domestic Cats Can Develop COVID-19

In a study published in Science, scientists from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute intentionally exposed groups of cats, dogs, ferrets, pigs, chickens and ducks to the new coronavirus by spraying concentrated virus up each animal's nose. The results suggest that both ferrets and cats are susceptible to infection.

Researchers inserted the virus into the noses of five domestic cats. Three of the infected cats were placed in cages next to uninfected ones. The researchers later found the virus in one of the exposed cats, suggesting it contracted the virus from droplets in the breath of the infected cats nearby.

The four cats that had coronavirus also developed antibodies against the virus. It should be noted that this experimental study might not mimic the way the virus spreads in real life.

Dogs and livestock including pigs, chickens and ducks did not appear to be significantly affected by COVID-19.

 

Sensible Precautions For Cat Owners

In its statement about the two pet cats, the USDA and CDC also offered this guidance, as they learn more about the relationship of coronavirus between humans and animals:

  • Do not let pets, and particularly cats interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
The USDA is listing all animals with coronavirus here.
So far, all the animals are in the family "Felidae" and all are in New York.
Experts do not believe that humans can get the virus from their pets,
though pets apparently can get it from people.

 

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