COVID-19 in cats

COVID-19 In Cats | cat perched on floor looking at camera
Posted by fetch! blog editors on Apr 23 2020

Recently, two cats in New York tested positive for coronavirus, making them the first pets in the US affected. This has naturally raised concern for many families, so we’ve compiled the latest information to keep you and your cat protected.

What are the coronavirus symptoms in cats?

Unfortunately, no one fully understands how this particular virus (SARS-CoV-2) affects animals, including our pet cats and dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association recently stated that affected animals have displayed either no symptoms or a mild respiratory illness.

Based on what we know of other viruses that cause respiratory disease in pets, symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, nose, or eye discharge. There may be other nonspecific signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or an abnormal appetite. The good news is that all diagnosed animals that received symptomatic treatment are expected to make a full recovery.

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Is the COVID-19 test for cats the same as the one for humans?

Our pets are different from us, so it’s not surprising their coronavirus tests differ, too.

What to do if you think your cat has COVID-19?

Don’t panic. If your pet is experiencing respiratory symptoms or other nonspecific symptoms such as lethargy or not wanting to eat or drink, then contact your veterinarian for further guidance. And be sure to follow the appropriate CDC guidelines on social distancing for both you and your pet.

Can cats get coronavirus from humans?

While there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats play a role in transmitting the disease to humans, growing clinical evidence suggests it’s far more likely for humans to spread the virus to animals. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the recently diagnosed cats most likely contracted the virus from their owners or someone in the neighborhood.

It is important to note that we do know the virus spreads through respiratory droplets or by touching a contaminated surface. However, no one knows if or for how long the virus can survive on your pet’s fur.

With that said, the pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and it’s best to take preventative steps in protecting yourself and your furry best friend.

Tips to keep your cat safe from coronavirus

  1. The CDC recommends that owners do not let their pets interact with people or other animals outside the household. While dogs are suspected to be less susceptible to COVID-19, keep your dog at least 6 feet away from people while out on a walk to prevent other pets in the home from being affected.
  2. Cats should be kept indoors at all times.
  3. Wash hands before and after each time you pet or snuggle your furry companion.
  4. If you or someone in your household has been diagnosed, please treat your pet as you would a family member: isolate as much as possible to prevent the virus from spreading.
  5. With so much unknown, prevention is key. Petplan is proud to be the first pet insurance provider to cover coronavirus for cats and dogs. It’s best to enroll early, before your best friend shows symptoms.

For additional questions, please visit our Coronavirus COVID-19 and pets page. We’ll continue to update you as more information becomes available.

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