Many of you may have read about the Tigers contracting Covid-19 from their zoo keeper in New York. Some of you may have read about the cat contracting Covid-19 in Belgium. You are likely also reading people saying cats can’t get Covid-19. So what is the reality?
A recent study done in China, shows that with extreme exposure, domestic house cats CAN contract Covid-19. DON’T PANIC. Even in a lab setting, the cats had to be exposed to a very high concentration of the virus to be infected. This high level of virus then had to adapt to infect the cat, so the virus the cat becomes infected with is NOT the same that infects humans. Cats can however, infect other cats.
So what does Covid-19 mean for cat owners?
- If you have symptoms of Covid-19, limit your contact with your cat to ensure you don’t over expose them. You can still live and care for them, just consider less kisses and close up cuddles.
- If your cat has been exposed to Covid-19, don’t let it out and risk it infecting other cats.
- If your cat shows symptoms (trouble breathing), call your vet for advice. It is unclear if cats need veterinary care, or just supportive treatment at home. Keep your cat inside!
- Make sure you have a plan in place for someone to care for your cat if you need to be hospitalized: friends, rescues, cat groups.
- If you are struggling to afford cat food/supplies, please reach out to cat rescues or your vet clinic for resources. Many areas have pet food food banks, and most rescues would rather help you keep your pet!
Most importantly: Your cat isn’t going to transmit the virus to other people, and is going to be a great comfort to you in isolation or illness. Please look after them, and listen to your vet for further information!