Researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China have pre-released a study that indicates the virus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the COVID-19 disease, can infect and replicate efficiently in cats. They have also found that cats can transmit the virus to other cats via respiratory droplets. There is still little evidence to suggest that cats can be a source of viral transmission to humans. This study also found that dogs appear to have low susceptibility to the virus.
Accordingly, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) makes these recommendations when it comes to COVID-19 and your pets.
- If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
- Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
Jianzhong Shi, Zhiyuan Wen, Gongxun Zhong, Huanliang Yang, Chong Wang, Renqiang Liu, Xijun He, Lei Shuai, Ziruo Sun, Yubo Zhao, Libin Liang, Pengfei Cui, Jinliang Wang, Xianfeng Zhang, Yuntao Guan,Hualan Chen, Zhigao Bu. Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and different domestic animals to SARS-coronavirus-2. bioRx preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.30.015347doi:
COVID-19 What veterinarians need to know. (2020, March 30). Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19