The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have just confirmed that two pet cats in New York have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. Both cats were tested after presenting mild respiratory issues and are expected to make a full recovery. The CDC says that while public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, there is currently “no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States.”
2 pet cats in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus. Listen to Dr. Fauci respond to the news pic.twitter.com/fHkMNCGPZH— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 23, 2020
The CDC summary describing the findings, which comes via BuzzFeed, says that the two cats live in separate places in New York, although it’s unclear if either, or both, of the cats reside in the especially hard-hit New York City area. The first cat to test positive came from a home where nobody was confirmed to be ill with COVID-19, while the owner of the second cat tested positive for the disease prior the cat presenting symptoms.
These are not the first cats to test positive for COVID-19. A Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the disease earlier this month, and it’s now being reported that four other tigers and three lions at the same zoo have also tested positive. According to a recent post from the Bronx Zoo, the tigers and lions were “infected by a staff person who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms.” The post notes that all eight cats “continue to do well” and are behaving normally, eating well, and experiencing greatly reduced symptoms.
From Dr. Paul Calle, Bronx Zoo chief veterinarian; "The COVID-19 testing that was performed on our Malayan tiger Nadia was performed in a veterinary school laboratory and is not the same test as is used for people.— Bronx Zoo (@BronxZoo) April 6, 2020
Dr. Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and “de facto” public health spokesperson for the office of the President during the pandemic, said in a recent statement (above) that while “certainly animals [and] pets can get infected… there’s no evidence that the virus is transmitted from a pet to a human.” He did add, however, that it is not impossible, but reaffirmed that he’s seen no reason to believe that pets can be a transmitter within a household.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) noted in a recent post that, as of April 22, the only other pets that have tested positive for COVID-19—worldwide—have been two pet dogs and a pet cat, both living in Hong Kong.
An excerpt from the CDC’s guidelines on managing pets during the pandemic. CDC
In regards to guidelines for taking care of pets during the pandemic, the CDC says that pet owners should not let their pets interact with other animals or people outside the household, that cats should be kept indoors as much as possible, and that dog parks and other places where large numbers of people and dogs gather should be avoided. A more complete list of CDC guidelines for caring for animals during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
What do you think about these newly reported COVID-19 infections in cats? Do you think we’ll continue to find more animals infected with the disease or will this trend peter out quickly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Feature image: cameron.small