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We have heard of several different cases in which people’s pets have been diagnosed with coronavirus but it is important to know the coronavirus they get is not the same as the novel one we are currently fighting. While this is the virus that causes COVID-19 it is not the same exact thing. 

The CDC on their official website has noted that we should be treating our pets as we would other human family members. They should not be interacting with people you are distancing from as it can bring outside germs and bacteria back to you. They also note that if someone within your household becomes sick you should isolate other family members from that person this including the pets.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about something recently making its rounds. According to USA Today, 2 cats have tested positive for coronavirus. These two cats are apparently the first pets in the US to test positive for coronavirus and a release was made on the topic Wednesday (April 23rd, 2020).

That release covers as follows in part:

The cats live in two separate areas of New York state. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19.

At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended. Should other animals be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, USDA will post the findings at State animal health and public health officials will take the lead in making determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2.

In the NY cases announced today, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19. 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.

Samples from the second cat were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness. The owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat showing signs. Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness.

Both cats tested presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2 at a private veterinary laboratory, which then reported the results to state and federal officials. The confirmatory testing was conducted at NVSL and included collection of additional samples. NVSL serves as an international reference laboratory and provides expertise and guidance on diagnostic techniques, as well as confirmatory testing for foreign and emerging animal diseases. Such testing is required for certain animal diseases in the U.S. in order to comply with national and international reporting procedures. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) considers SARS-CoV-2 an emerging disease, and therefore USDA must report confirmed U.S. animal infections to the OIE.

They went on to also note in this release that there is no evidence that would suggest pets play any kind of role in spreading this virus here in the US, so don’t go freaking out over these two kitties and their rare situations. As mentioned above they also noted the guidelines as listed by the CDC. This being we should not let our pets interact with other people or animals outside of our households right now, we should be keeping them as indoors as possible, and that we should with them be avoiding public places like dog parks. 

It is thought that these two cats managed to catch the coronavirus from humans and that in itself means we are more of a threat to our pets than our pets are to us in any sense. If you’re six feet away from other people then you shouldn’t have any issue keeping your pets six feet away as well. While it might sound like something that wouldn’t make a difference, you don’t want your pets getting sick either, do you?