While coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mostly spreads among people, it can also spread from people to animals. COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus. Some cause cold-like illnesses in people and others cause illness in animals, such as bats. In addition, some coronaviruses infect only animals.
Coronavirus in cats
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a few cats (and dogs) also have been infected with the virus. This happened mostly after the animals were in close contact with infected people.
According to statistics, the risk of animals spreading the COVID-19 virus to people is considered low. Animals don\’t appear to play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. There is no evidence that viruses can spread to people or other animals from a pet\’s skin, fur or hair.
However, keep in mind that young children, people with weakened immune systems, and people age 65 and older are more likely to get sick from some other germs that your pet can carry.
To protect your cat from the COVID-19 virus, do not let it interact with people or animals outside your household. For example:
- Avoid parks or public places where many people and pets gather.
- Keep cats indoors when possible.
How To Protect Your Cat From Coronavirus
If you become sick with COVID-19 and have a pet:
- Isolate yourself from everyone else, including your cat. If possible, have another person in your household care for it.
- Avoid petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding with your cat.
- If you care for your pet or are around animals while you\’re sick, wear a cloth face covering. Wash your hands before and after handling animals and their food, waste and supplies. Also, make sure you clean up after your pet.
If you have COVID-19 and your cat becomes sick, don\’t take it to the veterinarian yourself. Instead, contact the veterinarian. He could offer advice through a virtual visit or make another plan for treating your pet.
Testing is only recommended for pets that have symptoms and have been exposed to a person with COVID-19.
If your pet tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the same precautions you would if a family member became infected:
- Aim to isolate your pet in a separate room away from the rest of your family.
- Wear gloves when you interact with it or its food, dishes, waste or bedding.
- Wash your hands after touching any of your pet\’s items.
- Don\’t put a face covering on your cat and don\’t wipe with disinfectants, which can be harmful.
If your pet becomes ill, there\’s reason to be hopeful. Of the small number of dogs and cats confirmed to have the virus that causes COVID-19, some didn\’t show any signs of illness. The pets that did become ill only experienced mild symptoms and could be cared for at home. None of them died.
If you have questions or concerns about your cat\’s health and how it can be affected by COVID-19, you should better contact your veterinarian.