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Is your pet at risk for COVID-19? Two cats have tested positive for the virus in New York

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SYLACAUGA, Ala. – We know that COVID-19 can be transmitted and spread human to human, but what about human to pets?

Two pet cats, from two separate ares in New York state, are expected to make a full recovery after testing positive for COVID-19 and having mild respiratory issues. This marks the first known cases in domestic animals in the country. SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19.

“At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended. Should other animals be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, USDA will post the findings. State animal health and public health officials will take the lead in making determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2,” the CDC said.

The CDC provided some details about the two new cases, which are interesting because they were quite different circumstances. One cat belonged to a COVID-19 patient, while the other cat did not live in a household with people with known COVID-19 infections.

The CDC explained, “In the New York cases announced today, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. 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.”

Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including pets, could be affected.

Until we know more, CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets 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.


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