coronavirus and cats what cat owners need to know about covid 19

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Today the world has put aside all of its conflicts and became one big continent. unfortunately, what seems to be a dream coming true for humanity didn’t come out of positive reasons, it’s rather fear, maybe humility for some, that made us-human beings- stand hand in hand as one global citizen, more specifically it’s the worldwide pandemic coronavirus also known by its scientific name Covid-19. And now for the first time, coronavirus and cats (dogs as well) became a real thing that needs to be addressed urgently.

Ever since a Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested positive for Covid-19, your distress, as a pet parent, has certainly increased, which is normal; now not only you worry for yourself and all your loved ones, but you also started worrying about your well-loved pets.

So, automatically you started doing your research online. However, the world never dealt with Coronavirus before, thus all you find seems suspicious, or worst, you can even find double contradictory opinions all stated by highly qualified organizations. So what gives? Do I need to worry about my baby pet too? can cats get coronavirus?

Coronavirus infection in cats
Image : Getty

Here below you can find everything you need to know about Coronavirus and cats and dogs as well. We also answer some of the most asked questions about the topic. So let’ get to it, shall we!

Can cats get coronavirus? What about dogs and other pets?

covid-19 cats
Current studies suggest that coronavirus has originated from horseshoe bats. This suggestion is based on the studies done on previous coronavirus diseases such as SARS and MERS, however, those previous outbreaks were spread only between other species like palm civet and camels. Wich makes that study unreliable, as all the scientific community is new to this epidemic.

When that dog in Hongkong tested positive the panic started rising among pet owners. Especially after the study about the origin of the virus. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The dog was then placed into a two weeks quarantine, the test was re-done and came back negative. So the dog was released only to die three days afterward. Since then the internet exploded with questions about coronavirus and cats and dogs. And there have been stipulations that the owner must have passed it on to his dog, which means the contamination between humans and pets is very much possible.

Let’s relate some facts first:

  • The dog was very old and had many previous health issues, “We don’t know what the dog died of because they didn’t do any autopsy” Dr. Dana Varble – chief veterinary officer for the North American Veterinary Community -said ”but this dog was extremely elderly and had multiple underlying health conditions” he continues.
  • The Pomeranian was tested weakly positive for coronavirus after oral and nasal tests in February during his quarantine. And according to Hong Kong health officials, the dog may not even be an actual carrier of the virus, but the test was “weak positive” only because of what they called environmental contamination; as professor J. Scott Weese from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College declares to Washington post:” “It wouldn’t be surprising for this to be a low-grade infection because dogs are not thought to be very good hosts for this virus.”
  • Another dog was living in the same home, and it continually tested negative during the quarantine. A spokesperson from the Fisheries and Conservation Department confirmed that none of the two dogs have shown any signs of the virus.

All of these facts made the scientific community debunk the theory that we can pass COVID-19 to our pets.
Moreover, For those who ask” Can veterinarians test for COVID-19 in pets?” Well yes they can, and a veterinary diagnostic company made a test on thousands of household pets for coronavirus, and they all came back negative. Just like Dr. Dana Varble explained to CNN: “They tested thousands of dogs and cats for this virus and found no positive results in pets, so we believe that the likelihood of dogs or cats contracting this is extremely low at this time”.

Even though this is a new pandemic the world has to deal with, so far there has been no proof that this can happen, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website is confirming it by stating clearly: “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19”.

Could my pet serve as a conduit for covid-19?

Coronavirus and cats or any other pets turned out, so far, to be a safe couple and there’s nothing to worry about.

It’s the opposite of what most people think, now more then ever you need to embrace your pets and bond with them even more; as Dr. John Williams, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, explained: “Pets play a vital psycho-psychological role for their owners, especially now when everybody’s feeling so isolated and alone.

On the other hand, a German study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection has proven that Covid-19 can live on inanimate surfaces like plastic or metal or glass, etc for nine days and lasts there more then it does on soft ones like cardboard or so. Thus, any surface can be a fomite; according to Dr. Smith, your pet also can represent a fomite surface, however, the vet community believes that the risk of transmission, in this case, is low.

Nevertheless, if a sick person’s droplets get on your pet, you might run the risk of getting the virus when contacting them. Or even if your contaminated and caressed, with your unsanitized hands, your companion then you risk contaminating the people who will caress your pet as well.

Or even worse, The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, discovered that people contaminated with Covid-19 carry the virus in their stools too. And so it can spread through feces and droplets from coughing or sneezing. We know that much now!

How do I protect myself and my pet from coronavirus?

When preparing for quarantine pet owners have the responsibility to include their pets into their plans. You should make sure your furry companion will be safe despite everything that could happen. It’s time to get ready!

If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, how do I protect my pet?

Since Fluffy is at minimal risk of coronavirus, all you need to think about is how to deal with the virus yourself and how to protect others from you. However, this doesn’t mean that your pet gets to hang around you, maybe snuggle and cuddle with you. NO! Pets can still have the virus ON THEM and serve as a conduit!

CDC recommends that you do limit your interaction with your pet exactly the way you do with other people; wash your hands, practice social distancing and wear masks and gloves when you’re obliged to contact your pet.

Also, it’s important to reiterate that a face mask doesn’t prevent the virus from entering the body. People who need a face mask are the infected ones so that they can protect their surroundings from getting their droplets everywhere and then contaminate everyone.

Also, it’s useless to use it on your pet, not only it serves nothing but it also can cause other respiratory issues.

Make an emergency kit:

The ASPCA encourages pet owners to be well prepared and put their companions among their priorities.

Thus, Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, vice president of ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services, highly recommend that you, as a pet owner, assemble what he called an emergency kit, which should be containing:

  • The pet’s medications
  • 30-day food supply
  • Mandatory supplies, such as litter boxe…

It’s also important that your friend wears a tag ad a collar that contains its descriptive information in it:

  • His name, your name, and address
  • Your contact
  • Any urgent medications he might need
  • His medical condition and any urgent information you judge to be necessary.

Make sure you find a caregiver!

It could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor or anyone you trust with your pet. The ASPCA recommends that you pre-designate a caregiver for your bab’ in case you’re not there for whatever reason ( quarantine, …) and whatever period. To make this easy for them, keep a file with all the information about your pet ( medical condition, vet’s contact, medications, vaccines, preferences, preferences, habits…).

Contact your vet for emergencies:

If you are in quarantine and need to visit your vet, call her/him first and see if they can reschedule the appointment or if they judge it to be urgent.

In case you’re infected and your kitty needs to go to the vet ugently, contact your local health department and see what they’ll recommend.

Also, give your vet the benefit of the doubt, it’s a novel virus for all the communities, the veterinariens are also monitoring it closely to see what they can learn from it, so there migt be situations that your vet can’t respond to.

Will the COVID-19 have any impact on food safety?

Stay calm and avoid hording toilet papers, for God’s sake!
Food and medications factories are not about to close, and the governments have been clear and loud about it. If you’re contributing to flattening the curve by doing the extremely honorable action of staying home, others are obliged to go out and work for you, for me and all of us, so that our food and medication supplies are always available.

Cats and coronavirus is a new combination that we are facing. In general, the entire world is still learning how to deal with covid-19 and its interaction with humans and pets as well.

And it’s been monitored from every professional, everyone on its field of expertise, to try to learn more about it.
All of what the professionals in the medical field have discovered so far about the impact of this global pandemic is still minor.

However, all the organizations are doing whatever it takes with whatever resources they have to monitore it closely.

As for us, individuals and citizens of the world, all we have and need to do is follow their instrustions letter by letter. Everyone matters, and if you think you’re not a hero, you are wrong! These are simple steps you need to follow to save your pets and the entire humanity, here are the golden five:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for more than 20 mins. And use sanitizers when you don’t have access to water.
  • Practice social distancing: At least 1meter between you and the next person.
  • Sneeze and cough in your elbow (like you’re doing the dab). Or use a tissue and throw it away afterword.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or your mouth
  • Stay home as much as you can. And for those who are obbloged to go out, avoid physical contact with people, pets or any surfaces.

Also read : Tips for Feeding Your Cat!

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