It seems overwhelming when faced with an outbreak such as COVID-19, and as a pet parent, we are worried not only about ourselves but about our pets as well. It’s natural for pet owners to be concerned during this time of uncertainty about their furry, scaly, or even slimy family members contracting COVID-19. All the stories on social media most likely aren’t helping. Thanks to a lot of misinformation, some pet owners might be under the impression to dump their animals to prevent the spread of the virus.
However, while it is believed that COVID-19 originated from an animal source (presumably bats), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus to people. Studies suggest that cats are the most susceptible pet species for actually catching COVID-19.
Can humans catch COVID-19 from their pets?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that cats can transmit the disease to humans and play a role in spreading COVID-19.
Animals can act as fomites meaning an object on which disease particle can rest until they perish in the environment. This is true of human hands, clothing, shoes and almost any object. Consequently, reasonable precautions make sense.
If a family member has tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms of the virus, he or she should restrict contact with family pets and other animals. Ask another family member to care for the pets during time of recovery. Avoid contact with pets including petting, snuggling, kissing, or sharing food and bedding if you are sick with possible coronavirus. If you must care for your pet while sick, wear a face mask and wash hands before and after touching the pet. Practice basic hygiene rules as outlined for people when dealing with pets.
And above all, refrain from taking the family cat to a shelter. We are all in this together, including our pets.