Can Cats Get COVID-19?
by Makayla F.
One question asked by Cat lovers the world over is: can cats get COVID-19? Because most of the research into COVID-19 is dedicated to how it is affecting people worldwide there is no clear answer. Some researchers say that dogs and cats can only get canine/feline coronaviruses. However, there are some coronaviruses that infect animals and can spread to humans like SARS. From what society knows, the current outbreak of COVID-19 likely originated in bats. The first reported cases were linked to a live animal market in China.
COVID-19 In Animals:
A very small number of pets have been reported to be infected with COVID-19 worldwide (recently a study on 40 pets revealed 1 case in a dog in Niagara Falls). Because of these cases, studies are needed to determine how animals could be affected by COVID-19. The scientific information we currently have says the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to humans is very low.
According to a Winnipeg veterinarian Dr.Ron Worb, people who have pets shouldn’t be worried but should be cautious. He says that the virus might live on a pet’s fur for short periods of time, making it probable that a person could become sick from touching them. As such, Dr. Worb says common sense health measures should be used like washing your hands after the handling of pets. For now, pets don’t seem to play a role in the spreading of the virus.
Prevention is key with viruses like COVID-19. Here are some great tips to help keep you and your pet safe:
- Avoid dog parks where there are a lot of people and dogs.
- When you are walking your dog make sure he or she is on a leash
- keep your dog 6 feet away from other people and dogs
- Keep your cat indoors
If you catch covid-19 and you have a pet:
- Make sure to isolate yourself from everyone in your household including pets but
- Make sure another person in your household takes care of your pet.
- Avoid petting, snuggling, sharing food or bedding with your pet and make sure to avoid being licked or kissed by them.
- If you are around your pet while you have covid make sure to wear some sort of face covering, wash your hands before and after handling your pet’s food, water, toys etc.
If you have covid and your pet gets sick:
- make sure not to take your pet to the veterinarian yourself.
- You should contact your veterinarian with a phone call, email etc. to make arrangements for the appointment.
- Your vet may recommend using the service of a mobile vet to lessen the risk of pet to pet transmission
As scientists continue to study the novel coronavirus more information will become available. For now, the best advice we have for you is this: Practice social distancing, practice good hand hygiene (hand sanitizer, washing properly) and should you or your pet develop any symptoms please seek the advice of medical professionals.