AVON, Connecticut — Two pet cats have been tested for Coronavirus in New York. This is the first case in the country for companion animals.
Dr. Tom Morganti with Avon Veterinary Clinic said you should only be concerned about your pet if you or someone in your household has been tested positive for Coronavirus or is asymptomatic.
"Your biggest danger with a cat, your biggest danger is picking it up as if the cat was like a countertop or a doorknob. so if you've got somebody in the family who's in contact with the cat, sneezes on the cat and then you pet the cat and rub your eye, you stand a much greater chance of picking it up that way than picking it up from your cat," said Dr. Tom Morganti of the Avon Veterinary Clinic.
If you are sick or have been tested positive, it is advised you wear gloves and a face mask around your pet.
There is also good news and bad news. The good news - Dr. Morganti said pets have a much lower chance of contracting the virus than humans simply because it is a human virus. He added there is no such thing as pets transmitting it to another pet.
The bad news - pets display similar symptoms such as humans with incubation of about 14 days as well.
"I would say mild upper respiratory signs - runny eyes, runny nose, sneezing, things you associate with Coronavirus. Cats have their own version of Coronavirus," added Dr. Morganti.
Like humans, if your pet has underlying health conditions and has aged, that will play a role in the outcome. When it comes to testing, human tests will not work on them as pets have their own tests.
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"If you had a cat that was on chemotherapy or if you had a cat that had feline leukemia, it would suppress the immune system, they might be more susceptible," added Dr. Morganti.
Longtime cat owner Jessica Tones owns Raymond, her beloved black cat. She said she will now have to be more cautious of who is around him.
"I'm just so shocked in general still after like a month and a half of being in lockdown and not even worrying about my cat and hearing now that it's a possibility that they can get it. It's like great, now I have to worry more about who interacts with who," said Tones of Glastonbury.
So far, there is no evidence showing cats can spread it to humans but as a precaution, Dr. Morganti suggests keeping your pets indoors so they limit their interaction with other animals and humans outside.
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