Coronavirus and Cats – What You Should Know

Coronavirus and Cats – What You Should Know

The Corona virus is a pandemic that has brought a lot of uncertainties in the world. The major question to pet owners is Can cats transmit or get infected by Corona virus? While there is no cure for the virus, all that is left is to stop or slow the spread of this highly infectious virus. The shocking thing about the virus is that it can affect your lovely pets the same way it affects human beings. This means taking extra precautions to protect the cats and dogs in your homes so they don’t contract and spread the virus. This means your cat can infect you with the virus and you can infect the cat as well.

But what is known about the Corona virus and cats? There is no evidence to support that animals play a significant role in the spread of Corona virus but there is evidence that shows animals can get the virus. There are cats and dogs that came in contact with infected humans and have tested positive for COVID-19.

Mode of Transmission

With the evidence available from real-world cases and lab experiments that cats can become infected with Corona virus, the question most people are struggling to answer is how it is transmitted to the pet. Most of the cases start with a human infection spread to the cat, which can also infect other cats as well. Infection in cats happens when the cat comes into contact with a person infected by the Corona virus.

An infected cat was reported in Belgium. The cat became sick with respiratory problems as well as vomiting and diarrhea. Most of the cats found to have been infected with COVID-19 were living with affected patients explaining their exposure.

When a group of scientists wanted to research if the virus infects cats, they directly exposed the cats to COVID-19. They deliberately placed high doses of the live virus into their noses. For this reason, we can safely conclude that the sure mode of transmission is through the cat’s contact with an infected person. It is transmitted in cats the same way it is transmitted in human beings.

Can an infected cat spread the virus to other pets?

When research concluded that the COVID-19 virus also infects cats, this was a significant concern. People started wondering and asking if the infected cat can spread the virus to them or other pets. Also, how does one know if a cat is infected by the Corona virus?

A group of researchers wanted to find an answer to these and many other questions. They deliberately exposed five cats to the virus and placed them with uninfected cats. After some time, the uninfected cats tested positive, leading to the conclusion that cats can spread the virus to other cats. But how about human beings?

Can one get the Corona virus from a cat?

It is not impossible to get infected by the virus from a cat. It is unlikely but not impossible. As we speak, there are no cases of people who got the virus from a cat or any other pet.

Your cat can get infected with the virus, but its rare for the cat to spread the virus to you. If your cat is infected with the virus, chances are it got the virus from you or from another cat, and that is what should be of great concern.

When a cat is infected with the virus, there are chances that the cat is shedding and releasing fomites in your household such that you could possibly pick the virus from there and this is something people should be aware of. This is according to Peter Halfmann, a research professor at the University of Wisconsin who was part of the team that researched the amount of virus coming out of the cat’s nose.

Prevention

The Coronavirus has no cure or vaccine up to date. This means protecting yourself and your pet from contracting and spreading the virus. To protect your cat from the COVID-19 virus, don’t let the cat interact with people and animals out of your household.

  • Start by avoiding public areas yourself and if you have a cat or dog, avoid dog parks.
  • Keep your cats indoors if possible. Avoid letting the cat out to interact with others.
  • If you have to take the cat out, make sure the cat follows the same rules as you do – staying away from other people and animals.
  • If you suspect that you are sick from the Corona virus, isolate yourself from the pet and everyone else if possible. If you are going through the home-based care system, ensure you don’t come into contact with the cat.

Avoid at all cost snuggling, petting, being licked or kissed by the cat, as well as sharing bedding or food with your pet.

  • If you are sick and you don’t have anyone else to care for your cat, wear a face mask at all times. Ensure you wash your hands before and after handling the cat, their food, waste and any of the cat’s supplies. If possible, wear disposable gloves every time you are tendering to the cat.

READ ALSO: Best Cat Food for Shedding-Causes and Buyers Guide

If you are sick and your pet gets sick, it’s advisable not to take the cat to the vet yourself. Have someone else take the cat or contact the veterinarian for advice and guidelines to follow in a bid to treat the cat.

If the cat tests positive for the Corona virus, follow the same guidelines as you would if a family member becomes infected. Isolate the cat in a separate room away from your family. Have the cat stay at home and indoors at all times. This might get boring for the cat but it’s for the good of the cat and your family. When interacting with the infected cat, wear gloves all the time even during feeding and washing the cat’s supplies.

Even if your cat tests positive for the Corona virus, there is little to worry about. Of the small number of pets confirmed to have the virus, some didn’t show any signs of severe illness. The others who showed mild symptoms could be taken care of at home and none of these died. This means there are high chances of your cat recovering from the COVID-19 virus.

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