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CDC issues guidance after cats test positive for COVID-19 in New York

The Center for Disease Control has issued guidance to pet owners after a pair of cats tested positive for the virus this week.

The cats were in New York State and are the first in the U.S. to test positive.

“Felines as a species are probably more apt to get the virus from people but we’ve seen so few cases of that that it’s really to early to predict what that’s going to be,” said Todd Whilen, the Medical Director at Pittsford Animal Hospital.

He added that since the virus moved from an animal to person, that it’s entirely likely that the virus could move from humans to people.

That said, medical experts are looking for more information on that relationship.

As for guidance, it’s pretty simple. Or as Whilen put it, while speaking with, “Treat your pet as if it was a person in terms of social distancing and contact with other people and pets,” outside the household.

The CDC also recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other pets outside of your household.
  • Keep cats indoors whenever possible.
  • Walk a dog on a leash maintaining 6 feet of distance between other people and pets.
  • Avoid places like dog parks where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

If you or anyone else in your household is sick with COVID19, the CDC recommends the following:

  • When possible have another family member care for your pets until you are better.
  • Avoid contact with your pet including petting, bedding, or sharing food.
  • If you must care for a pet while sick, wear a mask and wash your hands before and after interacting with pets.