UPDATE: On April 22, 2020, the CDC and the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced two pet cats from New York tested positive for COVID-19. The information and recommendations I previously published (below) have not changed. Read more details on Vet Candy here.
April 28, 2020 the New York Post reported that Duke University examined a Pug (dog) that tested positive for the virus.
Treat your pets as you would other family members and protect them with social distancing when necessary!
Last evening, the cat world HISSED with the news that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. Other tigers and lions were not tested although they showed similar respiratory signs. And yes, because a couple of other domestic cats in different places also developed signs and appeared to test positive, cat lovers understandably feel concerned.
I won’t underplay or lie about the facts. And I won’t NOT report about this, because y’all need the information to stay safe. Because facts matter. Just be sure you’re reading FACTS, not rumors or assumptions that scare for no reason.
First, there’s just not enough information yet to say what’s going on. Second of all, cats are not TIGERS, no matter how much they want to be. So CHILL!
Here’s the reality, putting things in purr-spective. The world currently has shut down with (fill-n-the-blank) millions of humans sick with this virus. Yet out of the entire world of 600 million felines (and even more wild big cats), only two pet cats and a few zoo felines are reported to have been affected from contagious humans.
Read that again–these VERY FEW felines got the bug from their caretakers. The cats did NOT make each other sick. They won’t give it to you!
Time to Be Safe–Keep Doin’ What Yer Doin’
You have a much greater chance of winning the lottery than your cat being that one-in-600-million to catch the virus. You can reduce that tiny risk with the SAME precautions you already extend to human family members.
This is great news–because now big cat caretakers to shelter staff know better how to protect their charges. And we know to protect our cats, too. After all, they’re part of the family, and during this time of stress, they’re giving us back sooooooooo much in comfort and companionship.
So am I worried about my Karma-Kat becoming sick? Not from COVID-19, nope, not at all. He’s much more likely to develop a “normal” cat cold–they’re very common in cats, ya know. Sneezing or the occasional cough is no cause for alarm.
Meanwhile, I’m staying home, snuggling with my pets upon demand, and staying safe. You do the same, okay?
PURR-fect Time to Adopt or Foster!
In fact, with time on your paws, it’s a great time to consider fostering a needy feline or two. Or a dog. Or both. That helps take the burden off the awesome shelter staff, gives you much-needed companionship, and saves kitty and doggy lives.
Because there’s gonna be a boatload of kittens and puppies coming soon.
Further Pet Information from Experts
I ask my veterinarian friends to weigh in on the question, and there’s a long Facebook thread here with great information and discussion. And if you don’t want to wade through all the comments, here are the most important links to bookmark–these are from the experts. (Please avoid rumors and non-expert advice, y’all, it just gives ya the twitches):
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