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Two Cats in N.Y. Are First Pets To Be Infected of COVID-19

“These are the first pets in the United States to test positive.”

  • Two cats in New York reportedly tested positive of the novel coronavirus.
  • Both pets acquired “mild respiratory symptoms” and are expected to recover soon.
  • Experts say that cats and other pets are likely to acquire the virus from humans but are less likely to transmit the virus to humans.

A day after a study was published in the Journal Science confirming that cats can be vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus, two felines in New York ended up testing positive of the virus. The cats, the report said, joined other animals, including eight lions and tigers, that previously tested positive of the virus in New York.

In a CNN report, federal officials announced that the two cats that were infected of the virus showed “mild respiratory symptoms” and they are expected to recover soon.

“These are the first pets in the United States to test positive,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a joint statement with the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, CNN reported.

A veterinarian who tested the first house cat, said the pet experienced mild respiratory signs. However, none of its owners were infected of the coronavirus.

Officials explained that it may be possible that the cat acquired the virus from somebody outside the household. Or someone in the home “with mild or no symptoms” may have transmitted the virus.

Meanwhile, the second cat showed symptoms of respiratory disease. The owner already tested positive of the coronavirus before the cat contracted the disease. The owner has another cat, but the latter does not show or experience symptoms.

Following this development, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated that there is yet not a solid evidence, from an epidemiological standpoint, that pets can transmit the virus to people within their household.

He said that while scientists and experts are studying this discovery about COVID-19 and pets, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reminded pet owners to limit interactions between their pets and people or animals outside home.

“Cats should be kept indoors when possible, and dogs should be walked on a leash, maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals,” the CDC recommended.

The CDC also suggested that if a person gets infected by the virus, another member of the family should take care of the household pets. If there is no one who will take care of the pets, CDC recommends wearing protective masks to cover their face when around their animals. Pet owners should also wash their hands before and after any contact with their animals.

Previously, a study conducted by Chinese experts said that that cats are susceptible to the virus.

During the research, scientists attempted to infect the animals by “introducing viral particles” through their noses. Through that introduction, researchers found that cats and ferrets are “highly susceptible” to the virus, than animals such as dogs, pigs, and chickens.

The researchers also stated that cats can also infect fellow cats through respiratory droplets.

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