Coronavirus and Cats: A Helpful Guide for Cat Owners
Can cats contract the global pandemic coronavirus from humans, or could it happen the other way around? This inquiry is one of the mostly-asked questions today by cat owners. Well, it’s not surprising that Covid-19 has put many cat owners on alert. They might have heard about the feline coronavirus and wondered whether it was the same as the deadly pandemic that’s bombarding the world today. In this article, we are going to clarify whether this virus can be transferred from humans to pets or vice versa.
The question is, can cats contract coronavirus? There are limited instances of cats catching SARS-2, but yes it is indeed possible. However, cats seem to be safe from the disease COVID-19 and related symptoms. It doesn’t mean that we can already put our guard down. It is possible that humans can contract the virus from cats.
All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date.
The Truth between Cats and Coronavirus
According to medical experts, although dogs and cats can catch the Covid-19 virus, and other coronaviruses (the group of viruses), thus far they have not shown any symptoms
In Hong Kong, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has carried outsensitive tests called “weakly positive” on a Pomeranian dog of a patientinfected with Covid-19. However, they failed to find solid evidence that pets can contract the virus from humans. Although the dog showed signs of difficulty in breathing, the medical experts conclude that the result is due to the contaminated air circulating within its owner’s isolated room.
Notably, there are many subtypes of coronaviruses. In cats, it is known as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). The FIP in cats affects the cells of the intestinal wall, according to Dr.Jessica May from UK Lead Vet.
What is FIP?
Unfortunately, feline coronavirus infections are common among cats. Researchers have found two versions of this infection, one called the felineenteric coronavirus, andanother called the feline infectious peritonitis.
Feline entericcoronavirus can trigger diarrhea; however, there’s a minimal possibility thatit can lead to death. Meanwhile, feline infectious peritonitis which originates from mutation of the feline enteric virus usually attacks the internal organsof cats, which often lead to death.
Signs and Symptoms of Coronaviruses in Cats
Unfortunately, until today, medical experts haven’t introduced a kind of vaccine that can protect our feline friends from these viruses. However, there are immediate solutions that can prevent these conditions from worsening, especially if we notice the early warning signs such as the following:
- labored breathing
- thirst and urination
- abdominal distension
- weight loss
- other neurological signs
If your cats start to show some of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet immediately. Although there are no antibiotics that can combat coronavirus, the vets always have some ways to fight their symptoms. During the caring and recovery progress, remember to keep the environment around them clean and comfortablefor them as much as possible.
Note: When your cats start to show symptoms of the virus contraction, withholding hood for 24 hours may be one way to ease their intestinal crisis. You can opt to offer a small amount of food at a time. This method can help their tummy fight infection and it also gives them time to heal their rectum.
Can I Get Coronavirus from My Cat?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “there is no evidence that companion animals such as dogs and cats can be infected the new coronavirus.” However, this statistic shouldn’t put cat owners at ease, especially today that the COVID-19 shows no sign of stopping. The death toll around the globe continues to rise, and the situation is extremely alarming. While we do everything to protect ourselves, we must not forget to take extra precautions. There are in fact cases of cats contracting the coronavirus
How to keep our cats safe from the coronavirus pandemic
This virus is highly infectious; there is no doubt about it. But although there’s a little possibility that our pets can contract the virus, it would help if we would continue taking care of them to the best we can. Whatever we do to protect ourselves from the virus, we should also do it to our pets. Also, keeping our homes safe by disinfecting every now and then and by following the rules such as observing proper hygiene would be a considerable measure against this deadly pandemic.
Do cats need to wear a mask?
You might have seen a lot of photos of cats with masks on. But according to experts, such a measure is not really feasible. It is no secret that we are having a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) such as masks. So, instead of giving them to our cats, we should wear it instead. This step alone can help us better protect our pets from the ramifications of COVID-19.
Is there a vaccine for Covid-19?
Sadly, no vaccine for the Covid-19 is currently available. However, there are some kinds of vaccines that protect domestic animals from canine coronavirus. But be aware that they are not explicitly created to fight the effects of the new coronavirus.
Animals are living things too, and they also deserve to be protected just like what we need and demand. Cat social distancing will help to protect both your loved pets and yourselves.