News World Pets can catch the coronavirus, but you can protect them
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Pets can catch the coronavirus, but you can protect them

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Cats can catch the coronavirus but they are unlikely to be able to infect humans, experts say.

A pet cat tested positive for the coronavirus in the first case of an animal being infected with the virus in the United Kingdom, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

“All available evidence” suggested the cat had contracted the coronavirus from its owners, who had both tested positive for COVID-19.

Both the cat and the humans made a full recovery and there was no transmission to any other animals or people in the household.

“The investigation into this case suggests that the infection was spread from humans to animal, and not the other way round,” said Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England.

But it’s not just house pets.

Pet cats and dogs can test positive for the virus, but experts say the tests are extremely sensitive. Photo: AP

The first known case of coronavirus in animals was a tiger at the New York Zoo, which contracted the virus from a sick employee.

The disease has also been found in dogs and mink (ferrets in the Netherlands).

There is no evidence these animals can transmit the virus to humans.

The World Health Organisation says cats are the most susceptible to the coronavirus and are able to transmit it to other cats.

But there are some ways to keep you and your furry friend safe, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Most importantly, if you’re sick, avoid contact with your pets and other animals. Also:

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick
  • Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

And finally, if you’re sick with the coronavirus and your pet becomes sick, do not take them to the vet yourself.