British Veterinary Association (BVA) advise that cat fur can carry coronavirus if they come into contact with someone who has it.
They say cat owners are not at risk of catching COVID-19 from their pets. However, it could be carried from contaminated human hands to cat fur, thus making the cat a virus carrier.
Cats should stay indoors to help stop coronavirus spreading, vets have recommended.
BVA said: “Practise good hand hygiene, try and keep cats indoors.
Cat owners should observed instructions to keep their pets indoors and avoid hugging them to lessen the spread of Covid-19, following research showing cats may be able to catch the virus from other cats.
There is no sense in observing essential national lockdown and then letting loose pets, roaming wild, potentially spread contagion to other people via their fur. The virus can live on surfaces for hours or even days.
The British Veterinary Association’s advice for pet owners diagnosed with Covid-19 is:
• Restrict contact with pets as a precautionary animal health measure until more information is known about the virus.
• If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible.
• Keep cats indoors if possible and try to get someone else to exercise dogs, to reduce the likelihood of your pet spreading the disease – but there is as yet no evidence that pets play a role in the spread of the disease.
• If your pet shows clinical signs, please do not take it to the vet but call the practice for advice.
• If your pet requires emergency treatment, call the practice for further advice. Do not take your pet to the surgery unless the vet instructs you to. You may need to arrange for someone else to transport your pet for treatment.