COVID-19 is much in the news, and some reports are based on fact, others speculation. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have some advice for you as a pet owner – or someone who spends a lot of time around pets – here’s what you should know:
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Human outbreaks are driven by person to person contact. – OIE (World Organization for Animal Health - https://www.oie.int/).
While COVID-19 is still very much a predominantly human disease, the evolving scientific information around this new disease and the virus that causes it reinforces the need to treat pets as we do our family members; separating them from other infected individuals when possible and practise good hygiene when handling them, including proper hand-washing.
Specifically about cats, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organisations continue to agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that, in natural settings, pets spread COVID-19 to people. At this point we know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is most efficiently spread via human-human contact. We understand that there may occasionally be human-to-animal transmission of the virus (albeit without significant illness), so it’s important to treat pets as we would any family member and help keep them virus-free.
Additionally, there is currently no guidance to keep cats indoors. Only when cats are from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and the cat is happy to be kept indoors, should this be considered. Further information is available at https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-and-covid-19/