Cats + COVID-19
Due to a report of a tiger at the Bronx Zoo testing positive for a strand of the coronavirus, specifically SARS CoV-2, there have been concerns about the potential dangers of our domesticated felines.
The United States Department of Agriculture and the American Veterinary Medical Association have released information on the topic of whether domesticated cats can test positive for the virus.
Although, there are limited reports of felines becoming infected, there is no evidence that animals can pass the disease to humans.
The Bronx tiger that tested positive did display symptoms that were consistent with the human symptoms, but the tiger has begun treatment and is expected to recover.
In light of the potential impact on our feline companions, the AVMA and USDA recommend that sick individuals in homes with pets ask for help in caring for those pets for the duration of their illness, to limit the potential exposure of the pet to the virus. Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not pet, cuddle with, groom, or feed their pets while they are experiencing symptoms and considered infectious.
If touching the animal is unavoidable, such as in the instance of individuals who live alone or for service animals, touching should be limited to what is strictly necessary. Additionally, these groups recommend that individuals experiencing symptoms should wash their hands before and after necessary contact with their pets.