In the wake of the news that a tiger in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus, it has suddenly come to everyone's attention that animals may not be immune to COVID-19, as was originally widely believed. According to Fox News, after further research and testing, the issue now hits much closer to home for animal-lovers around the world: It turns out that domestic cats can get the virus, too.
This is obviously bad news, not only for the cats who could potentially get sick, but also for the humans who love them and are relying on them for companionship and emotional support during these tough times. It's hard enough to be socially distant from your human cohorts, but now, you may need to steer clear of your pets as well. While you're stuck at home with Fuzzy or Tigger, be careful to protect them from the same risk factors that you would yourself or your family, including bringing groceries or other items into your home that could be contaminated with the virus. And, of course, if you are experiencing symptoms, keep your distance from your feline friend.
"My cat has been acting standoffish, sluggish, and weird lately," said one local cat-owner. "I joked that she was socially distancing herself from me … or that maybe she had the virus. But I didn't think that that was even a possibility. Now, I have to wonder if she really is sick."
A study was conducted on multiple animals in China, with the goal of finding those creatures most suitable for future vaccine tests. The results showed that dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks are virus-proof. Cats, however, including kittens, are in danger. But what was not mentioned in the study was how serious the virus is to cats and whether or not they survive it.
The good news is that cats may not be able to transmit
the virus to humans, but unfortunately, the reverse is a certain risk: They can
catch it from humans. And, if you have more than one animal or let your kitty
outdoors, keep in mind that cats are also contagious to other cats.
Also at risk, though a much less common pet, are ferrets.
Luckily, dog-owners have nothing to worry about. In
the ongoing battle of cats vs. dogs, score one for the dogs.
Be safe and be careful. Take care of yourself and your cats. And while it has not been proven that cats are playing a huge part (if any) in the spreading of the disease, if you want to be safe, this may be as good a time as any to consider adopting a pet chicken.