All pet owners try to do their best to always keep their furbabies safe and healthy. But these days, for those with cats, that means taking a few extra precautions to protect their felines from COVID-19.
Back in April, the CDC confirmed two separate cases of cats in New York who contracted the virus. As troubling as that sounds, new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has confirmed that felines are indeed vulnerable to the virus, but that they also don’t seem to develop the same extreme symptoms some humans do.
The researchers came to this conclusion after exposing three cats to the virus and isolating them from each other. All of the cats tested positive within one or two days. Researchers then individually placed another uninfected cat with each of the original three (six cats total). Again, the new cats tested positive for the virus in about two days, but this time they caught it from the others rather than having it administered to them — meaning they can spread it to each other like humans.
However, despite testing positive, all of the cats showed no symptoms whatsoever. “That was a major finding for us — the cats did not have symptoms,” study author Yoshihiro Kawaoka said in a press release. It also only took six days for all the cats to be totally clear of the virus.
It’s important to note that there is no evidence your cat can pass the virus to humans, only vice versa. And although researchers found no symptoms in the cats they observed, it was a small study. We can’t say for sure that every cat who contracts the virus will be as lucky, so it’s still important to minimize their risk of catching it.
In the same press release, Ruthanne Chun from University of Wisconsin Veterinary Care recommends keeping any outdoor cats inside for the time being, so they can’t get it from any of their neighborhood friends. If someone in your house is showing signs of the virus or tests positive, you need to also make sure your cats stay clear of them like you would with the rest of your family.
For those who always keep their cats indoors and haven’t been exposed to the virus, there’s nothing really to worry about! You and your furbaby can continue snuggling up and sharing love as you always do — something we can all use plenty of right now.