On April 22, 2020, the CDC released a statement concerning 2 feline patients that have tested positive for COVID 19. The cases were from different areas in New York State. Both cats were showing mild respiratory signs at the time of diagnosis, but are expected to make a full recovery. The first cat was in a household where nobody in the family was positive for coronavirus. The second patient was in a home with a known positive covid individual. Despite these findings, the CDC and animal health officials maintain that our domestic animal friends are not a source of transmission and should not have an impact in this pandemic. The interesting part of this report was in the second cat household. There was another cat in that household and was symptom-free and tested negative. As we know, if a cat or dog has an upper respiratory disease present, their ability to transmit the disease to other cats or dogs in the household is quite efficient and highly likely. This holds true for our traditional upper respiratory diseases, but not apparently for coronavirus. The CDC has compiled a set of guidelines that I believe are helpful and important to follow.
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.