Cats and Covid: What You Should Know

Updated info (9/10/20): covid-19-pets-prevention (pdf)

As many of you have probably heard, two cats from two separate households in New York tested positive for COVID-19. Both had mild upper respiratory tract disease, as is probably the norm for cats that develop clinical infection from the virus.  Both cats are expected to recover fully. One cat was from a known COVID-19-positive household, so no surprise there. However, there was no clear source of the virus for the other cat. The conclusion was that “The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home.” Hopefully there was an asymptomatic infection in a person in the household, since a cat picking it up from casual contact with someone outside the home raises some concerns. Based on the current information, the current recommendations are as follows:

  • If you’re infected, limit contact with people and pets.
  • If your pet is exposed, keep it in the house with you.
  • If your pet is exposed and is sick, talk to your veterinarian to see if it actually needs to be seen at a clinic.
  • If the pet of someone with COVID-19 has to leave the house (e.g. to go to a veterinary clinic for medical care), precautions need to be taken to reduce the risk of exposing other people or animals.
  • If you socially distance your pet(s) in the same way you should be socially distancing yourself from other people, there is basically no chance they will bring this virus into the household.