Recent reports from the BBC have been raising a fair bit of alarm among the cat owner community. The article in question cautioned cat owners to keep their cats indoors at all times during this pandemic, in order to keep your family and pet safe. The article has since been amended due to alarmist and inaccurate information; but in the age of social media sharing, the damage has already been done.
Millions around the world have already seen this article, shared it, and absorbed the false information that it had spread. It is because of this, that we feel the need to set the record straight about your cat, and COVID-19.
First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way. There currently is zero evidence to suggest that humans can contract the virus from cats. While there have been a small number of cases in China indicating that a few cats and dogs have managed to contract the virus, there is no evidence that it has been able to make the transfer to humans. There has been some research that has indicated that the potential for animals to catch the virus from humans could be possible, but there isn’t enough information to make the claim definitively as of yet. Cat-to-cat transfer is still not clear, and currently there is no evidence to support it either way.
This all goes to say that you as a human should be more worried about giving the virus to your cat, than getting the virus from your cat. However, the risk of even that is still very, very little as of now. So, what should you do?
Well, as a cat owner you are probably aware that cats which are used to being outside can become agitated and stressed when forced to remain confined indoors. It is best to not break their comfortable routine unless you have to. Since the risk of you catching the virus from your cat is non-existent, you needn’t worry about your pet bringing it into the house. However, that does not mean that you can’t still practice some precautions when interacting with your pet anyway. For example:
If you are exhibiting symptoms, minimize contact with animals and pets as much as possible.
Wear gloves and a mask whenever interacting with your cat if you are exhibiting symptoms. Continue to properly wash your hands immediately after coming into contact with your cat, even if you are feeling completely healthy.
Wash their harness/leash regularly so as to minimize potential for the virus to remain on it.graph text here.
Do not attempt to wash the pet or spray them with disinfectants. There is no evidence to suggest that the virus can survive on fur; and the excess chemicals can irritate or harm your cat.
To summarize; you are in no danger of contracting the virus from your cat. There have been zero recorded cases of such happening. It is a potential possibility that you could give the virus to your cat, and as such you should try to remain as hygienic and cautious as possible when handling them for their health.
Try to maintain general hygiene guidelines that you normally would, and if you are showing symptoms try to avoid contact with your cat whenever possible for their safety. Otherwise, you do not have to worry about keeping them indoors. In general, they should be allowed to live out their daily routine as usual.