We’re living in scary, uncertain times. Our “new normal” looks so different from anything I could have predicted even 3 months ago.
So, first and foremost, I hope you and your family are safe, well, and taking time for mental and physical health during this time.
Our pets are our family, so it’s natural to be worried about their health as well. Right now, it’s important to have as much information, so I’ve compiled as much info as I could on cats and COVID-19 into this blog post.
Can Your Cat Catch COVID-19?
Recently, we’ve learned that 2 cats in New York tested positive for the Coronavirus. These are the first confirmed cases of pets in The United States, and very few other cases of animals have been seen.
The 2 cats are believed to have been in close contact with people who were infected, and all positive animal cases have been in the care of someone or in contact with someone who had tested positive.
Cats, like many animal species, can have other types of coronavirus, but they are species-specific, meaning they only spread within the same species, not to humans.
Based on the few cases we’ve seen, it does seem that pets have a chance of catching the virus from those that test positive.
Can Your Cat Give You Coronavirus?
I know there’s a lot of panic surrounding cats and COVID-19 right now, but here’s what you need to know:
This virus is spread from human-to-human, and there is no evidence, according to the CDC, that pets are playing any role in spreading COVID-19.
The risk of a person contracting COVID-19 from their cat is considered very low, and you should not be afraid of your cat or other pets.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Cat from COVID-19?
Just like your human family members, there are precautions you can take now to help protect your cat’s health and safety.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
You’ve heard this advice repeated endlessly by now, I’m sure, but that’s because it’s important.
Washing your hands not only helps protect you from catching the virus, but it keeps you from spreading it to other people and your pets as well. Cats, like other animals, can also carry other germs (outside of COVID-19) that can be spread to people.
Wash your hands regularly before and after petting your cat, handling their food, cleaning their litter box, or otherwise interacting them.
Keep Your Cat and Their Surroundings Clean
Good hygiene habits are essential right now.
Brush your cat regularly and keep their fur clean. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), it’s unlikely that you can contract COVID-19 through petting, but it’s always a good idea to practice good hygiene.
Keep your cat’s food bowls clean, as well. The virus can live on surfaces for a certain amount of time. Just like you’ve been sanitizing your counters and keeping your surroundings clean, we should be keeping our cat’s environment clean as well.
Do not use hand sanitizer or other sanitizing products on your cat’s fur. This can be harmful to your cat.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
This is one of the most important steps you can take. We should all be socially distancing, and that includes your pets.
If your cat typically goes outside or wanders the neighborhood, keep them inside for the time being. This prevents them from interacting with other people or animals who could make them sick.
Your cat not used to being inside? Here are 5+ ways you can keep your cat entertained.
Follow All Precautions Put in Place By Your Vet
If you have scheduled vet appointments, call ahead to find out what precautions the office has put in place. Many are offering curbside pickups, and there are probably limits on whether you can be in the appointment with your pet.
You should also call your vet first if you have any concerns about your cat’s health. They can advise you on any next steps that need to be taken to protect your cat and minimize any risk to you.
Have an Emergency Plan If You Get Sick
If you test positive for COVID-19, you’ll need to quarantine for at least 14 days. During this time, you can’t interact with anyone–that includes pets.
To make sure your cat is safe, create an emergency plan now, just in case. This cat and COVID-19 emergency plan should include:
- a designated care-taker in the event of your illness
- at least a 2-week supply of food
- Care instructions, especially for pets with special needs
Resources Available for Pet-Owners in Need
This pandemic has hit the world hard. Many people are without jobs and financially struggling, and having pets puts even more strain on your bank account.
If you need help paying for your cat, from food to medical expenses, the Humane Society put together an amazing list of resources.
I hope, wherever you are, you and your pets are happy, healthy, and hanging in there. My heart is with you as we ride this out together.