Are Cats at risk of the Coronavirus? Petmemoir explores the possibilities, and provides the answers

September 01 21:12 2020

Chinese e-commerce company, Petmemoir, is exploring the clinical possibility of Cats contracting the Coronavirus.

Can cats pass COVID-19 on to humans?  There is currently no evidence that pets or other domestic animals can transmit the virus to people. Can cats contract the virus from humans? What is currently known about the spread of the virus between humans and their pets?

On July 27, the UK announced its first confirmed case of Coronavirus in a pet cat. The cat was then tested for SARS-CoV-2 as part of a research programme, and it has since been confirmed the cat was co-infected with the virus known to cause COVID-19 in humans.

Professor James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine, University of Cambridge, said: “A handful of pets in contact with infected human owners have been found to be infected around the world. The data overall continue to suggest that cats may become infected by their owners if their owners have COVID-19, but there is no suggestion that they may transmit it to owners.”

Why can’t cats transmit the virus to humans?  The relative size of a cat versus a human means that there is far less exhaled breath from one cat in a house, compared with the exhaled breath volumes from a human patient. It is also thought that the grooming behaviour of cats means that they are more likely to catch an infection from an owner than vice versa.

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of pets tested which have been living with infected people have in fact tested negative, suggesting it might be quite hard for cats and dogs to catch this virus.

Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology, University of Nottingham, said: “We know that domestic animals like cats and dogs can be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but the evidence suggests that the animals don’t get sick. “They produce very low levels of virus, which is why we don’t think they can transmit the virus to humans,” he said.

What can owners do if they are worried about passing the virus on to their pet cat? Public Health England advises that people wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with their pets. Experts also say that people can protect their pets by avoiding close contact if they are, or think they might be, infected with the virus. Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association, said: “We also recommend that owners who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 should keep their cat indoors if possible, but only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.”

“It is also the case that animals may act as carriers of infection, called fomites, as the virus could be on their fur in the same way it is on other surfaces, such as tables and doorknobs. That’s why good hand hygiene remains important”, he said.

Cats Protection advised: “As a precaution, to avoid any risks to the cat, people who are suspected of having, or known to have COVID-19 should be particularly careful by minimising contact with their cat and washing their hands with soap and hot water before and after handling.”

As for how the cat could have caught the virus, Dr Jenny Stavisky, a professor at the school of veterinary medicine and science in the University of Nottingham, said it’s likely the cat caught it the same way we do, from close contact [with] an infected person or people.

“It’s worth noting that the vast majority of pets tested which have been living with infected people have in fact tested negative,” said Stavisky, “suggesting it might be quite hard for cats and dogs to catch this virus.” Although several animal species have been infected with the virus, these infections are not a driver of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is driven by human-to-human transmission.

Petmemoir, located in Beijing, sells and distributes pet memorial gifts, tips and products that bring comfort to pet owners during grieving times of a pet loss. The company ships all its merchandise to any location in the world within 5 to 10 business days using logistic companies such as EMS, DHL, FedEx, UPS etc.

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Company Name: PetMemoir
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