Let’s get the bad news over with: Yes, your cat can get Covid-19. But the good news is that chances are pretty slim that your cat will contract the virus.
We know that in spite of millions of Americans being vaccinated, there are still breakthrough cases. With humans this is to be expected, since none of our vaccines are effective 100% of the time for 100% of the population. However, as you should know, your chance of becoming so ill you will require hospitalization is slim once you are vaccinated. This is why it has now become known as the “Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.”
In comparison to humans, the amount of Covid-19 in the feline population is extremely small. In total, there have been 97 cats in the United States that have tested positive for the virus. You can compare this to humans where there have been 34-million positive cases.
Further, it is reported that of the 97 feline Covid-19 cases, none of the infected kitties have died from the virus. Sneezing, stuffy noses, and nausea have been symptomatic of mild respiratory or gastrointestinal illness in the felines.
Here is the most important outcome of the report: All of the cats that have tested positive for the virus contracted it from their human handlers. These people, who were found to be positive for Covid-19, exposed their feline by coughing or sneezing in close proximity to them. They noticed that the symptoms in the cat developed shortly after the cat’s exposure to these same people.
So, if the person ill with the virus can transmit it to their feline by hugging the cat too closely, then is the opposite true as well? Can a cat with Covid-19 pass it on to their humans? The answer here is quite a firm NO!
From the research, it appears that people can give Covid-19 to their cats, but that cats cannot spread Covid-19 to people. Since cats are not the primary hosts for this virus, it is unlikely they are able to spread it to others in the way humans can. For this reason, the CDC does not recommend the testing of pets.
Obviously, what the CDC does recommend is to limit your exposure to your pets if you are ill in the same way you would limit your interactions with other people. If there are others in your home, have them care for your pet. If you are the sole caregiver, wear gloves and a mask before coming into contact with your cat.
In the past year, we have also learned the hard way about the supply chain and what products we should stock up on to be safe. It has been advised to keep from two weeks to a month’s worth of supplies (food and litter) at home for Kitty, in addition to any medications and clean water.
When all is said and done, it seems felines do not play a part in the transmission of Covid-19. This should be encouraging news to all of you, especially to those who became new cat owners during the pandemic. The benefits of keeping pets, such as stress reduction and improved mental health, are so important.
As the world forges ahead, hopefully on a path to recovery from the virus, we hope you will continue to provide for their needs in exchange for the comfort and companionship that they give back to us many times over. Since it is so unlikely they will get the virus, you need only worry about not spreading it to them. For more data on this, check in on the CDC’s website.
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