What should a cat owner do if they contract COVID-19?

24th April 2020

Probably no need to panic but sensible precautions are advised

Most health experts agree that infected pet owners should play it safe and have minimal or no contact with their animal. This is primarily because there are still a lot of unidentified factors about this new and deadly coronavirus. We DO NOT have all the answers!

That means no snuggling, stroking, kissing or sharing food with your pet. Cat owners should not allow their pet to lick them.

Keep the pet out of the room that you are convalescing in, if possible, and have a family member take care of your cat while you are recovering, including feeding and bathing it.

Dr. John Howe, the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, advised: “Better yet, see if you can have a friend or neighbor who could take your pet out of the household,”

Most experts are at this time saying that the chances of a person catching the virus from a pet is minimal. However, some eminent authorities are playing it safer.

Cat fur traps the virus warn experts

Dr Howe explained that while the virus is easy to clean off smooth surfaces, such as counter tops and door knobs, cat fur is far more porous and traps the virus. This makes it tough to remove from an animal’s coat. Therefore, logic dictates that a person can catch the virus from the animal’s fur.

Hand washing is also absolutely essential with cats under these circumstances. And no kissing your pet on the mouth is crucial to prevent picking up any kind of harmful germ from an animal, let alone COVID-19.

Social distancing etiquette for cats?

Cats should not interact with people from outside your household. Virus spreads of surfaces that that most certainly includes animal fur.

Keep cats well away from other cats and people and do not let them roam freely.

Furthermore, some children love to play with cats. Therefore, Covid-19 virus on cat fur (and its very real potential to transfer to energetic little human fingers and then mouths) is a potentially serious contamination issue.

Humans have been committed to wise social distancing measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus for weeks now. Cat owners therefore also need to act responsibly, like adults, and make sure that they follow these no-nonsense guidelines. Consequently, that means keeping your pet safely inside your home and away from other cats and people, etc.

Moreover, inattentive owners who let their cats roam freely into other people’s properties and across dangerous roads now, especially during this lethal pandemic, need to keep them indoors – just to be on the safe side!

Meanwhile, two cats have tested positive for coronavirus in New York State, marking the first confirmed cases in pets in the US. It’s thought that they have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighbourhoods.


Some specialists are now understandably wondering how many cats are in fact infected with Covid – 19 on an international basis.

Cat infected with COVID-19 from owner in Belgium

A domestic cat in Belgium has been infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that’s spreading across the globe, the government’s FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment announced March 27, according to news reports.

Cats and humans appear to have a similar “doorknob” on the surfaces of respiratory cells that lets the SARS-CoV-2 virus get inside, according to Van Gucht (virologist and federal spokesperson for the Coronavirus epidemic in Belgium.)

In humans, scientists have figured out that the SARS-CoV-2 virus attaches to a receptor protein called ACE2 that’s on the outside of respiratory cells. Once inside of these cells, the virus hijacks certain machinery so it can replicate.

“The feline ACE2 protein resembles the human ACE2 homologue, which is most likely the cellular receptor which is being used by Sars-CoV-2 for cell entry,” Van Gucht said.

Currently, most experts tell us that the chances of humans getting the virus from pets is slim.

Nevertheless, due to the fact that Covid-19 does live on surfaces (including cat fur) prevention is better than cure so we all need to take sensible measures with pets.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic

Although most feline infectious diseases only affect cats, some of these diseases can be transmitted from cats to people. Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people are called zoonotic diseases. For more information about specific risks, diagnosis, and treatment of zoonotic diseases, contact your physician/health professional.


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