Cats test positive for COVID-19 in New York: Tips to keep your pets safe

With reports of pets testing positive for COVIS-19 coming in, it is imperative that you know how to keep your cat or dog safe from this disease.

There are many diseases that are unique to animals. Sometimes, these jump species and affect humans. Coronaviruses are common in animals, but they generally do not affect humans. But the new strain of coronavirus that causes COVIS-19 is apparently of animal origin. It originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China, and has since gone to ravage the world, killing more than 169,000 people worldwide.

Initially, experts said that this variant of coronavirus does not affect animals. But now, it seems that COVID-19 can hijack animal cells too. The pathogen injects itself into cells by binding to a cell surface protein called ACE2. This protein is present in many species of animals. However, the World Health Organization says there’s ‘no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19’. Contrarily, in most cases where pets have been infected, it was humans who gave the disease to them.

Pets may get COVID-19 virus from owners

Now, New York, which is the epicenter of the disease in the United States reports that two cats have tested positive in the country. They are the first pets in the United States to test positive for COVID-19. Both exhibited mild respiratory illness and vets attending to them say that they will soon make a full recovery. The owner of one can had earlier tested positive for the virus but there were no confirmed cases in the house where the other cat stays.

So, experts say that the virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members. But experts say that so far dogs do not appear to be vulnerable to the disease. Taking the matter seriously, the World Health Organisation has said that it will take a closer look at transmission of the virus between humans and pets. Earlier this month, we had the case of a tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo who was tested positive for COVID-19. His caretaker, who was asymptomatic at the time but has since tested positive, gave the virus to him. In March, another pet cat in Belgium tested positive. In Hong Kong too, two pet dogs tested positive. All pets got the virus from the people they live with.

Save your pets from COVID-19

With these two cases, pet owners around the world must be scared for the pets. Health officials and also the CDC have come out with some recommendation on how to keep your pets safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us see what they are. If you are a pet owner, socially isolate your pets till there is more information on this matter. Keep your cats indoors as much as possible and try to keep them away from other animals and also humans. Keep your dog on a leash when you take him for a walk. Keep away from dog parks and areas where people take their pets for a stroll. If you test positive for COVID-19, avoid all physical contact with your pet. This means no cuddling, petting or kisses.

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About Cholo Brooks 12110 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.