Can Pet Cats and Dogs Get Coronavirus From Humans? Here’s Everything You Should Know About Human to Animal Transmission of COVID-19

Madhurima Sarkar

Nadia—a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, began to show one of the critical symptoms of the novel coronavirus; dry cough. It was further reported that Nadia’s sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions were all experiencing the same thing. Hence, the zoo took permission from local and state health departments and animal health authorities and took a sample from Nadia for the test. She was tested for COVID-19, making her the first known infection cases of an animal in the United States of America. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the cat was infected by a caretaker who had COVID-19 but was asymptomatic. This raised many questions. The significant ones remain if pets can contract coronavirus. Do you need to worry about your cats and dogs? What should you do to keep them safe? Here is everything we know so far about the deadly virus and human to animal transmission of COVID-19. Can Pets Contract Coronavirus? WHO Says Cats and Dogs Are Safe From Being Infected With COVID-19, Here’s What You Should Know. 

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Can Domestic Cats Get Coronavirus From Humans?

After a 17-year-old Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested positive in February, concerns raised among pet owners if they should be more careful. The pooch became the victim following a close exposure to its owner who was sick with the virus. The dog passed away in March, but South China Morning Post in a report stated that it might have died because of old age. A cat in Hong Kong was also tested positive after the owner was confirmed with having the virus. There is no evidence that cats shed enough of the virus to give it to people. The Verge cited a study conducted in China which has not been peer-reviewed, stating that cats with the disease transmitted the infection to one of the other healthy cats, all put in the same kennel, most likely through respiratory droplets. But for dogs, they seemed to more resistant to the virus and did not pass it to one another. It weighs the incident of a two-year-old German Shepherd in Hong Kong who was tested positive after the owner came down with the disease, while another dog living at the same house, did not.

Can You Catch the Coronavirus From Animals?

Coronavirus is zoonotic. This means that they can be passed between animals and humans. It is still not known what type of animal first passed the new virus to a person, and there is a lot, scientists do not know about COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier reported that there had been no evidence of a pet anywhere in the world, transmitting COVID-19 to a person. The current outbreak is the result of people passing the virus from one another. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US agency also confirmed that till date, there is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to people.

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Do You Need to Keep Pets At Social Distance?

The CDC advises restricting contact with pets and other animals if you are suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19. Ask someone to take care of your pet if you can while you are sick. Besides, if you are not ill, practice good pet hygiene.

We all need to take similar precautions with our pets as we do with humans. Keep a safe distance, wear masks if you show symptoms and follow hygiene, so we all can stay healthy.