Can Cats Contract COVID-19? Vet Expertise Revealed

can cats get covid-19

Since COVID-19 started, some animals, including cats and dogs, got sick after being near infected people. But, it is rare for pets to pass the virus to humans. One unusual case in Thailand showed a person might have gotten COVID-19 from a cat.

Still, this is not common. The AVMA says animals don’t get COVID-19 the same way people do. The World Organisation for Animal Health is keeping track of these cases all over the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • Instances of cats and dogs contracting COVID-19 primarily occur after close contact with infected humans.
  • No significant evidence suggests a major transmission route from pets to humans.
  • A single case in Thailand indicated potential human infection from a cat.
  • The AVMA notes that animals do not experience COVID-19 as humans do.
  • The World Organisation for Animal Health monitors such cases worldwide.

Understanding SARS-CoV-2 and Pets

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, affects not just people but animals too. This includes our pets at home. Knowing how it impacts different animals helps us keep them safe.

What is SARS-CoV-2?

This new virus appeared in late 2019 and quickly spread worldwide, causing a disease that affects the lungs. While it mainly infects humans, research has shown animals can get it too. This raises questions about how it moves between people and animals.

How SARS-CoV-2 Affects Animals

Pets, especially cats and dogs, can catch the virus from people. It’s crucial to understand that they might not get as sick as humans do. Even with mild symptoms, they can still spread it by being close to others, says the AVMA.

Pets Most Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2

Cats are more likely to catch the virus than dogs. They face a higher feline COVID-19 risk when near infected people. Minks and big zoo cats have also tested positive.

The AVMA suggests practicing good hygiene and keeping pets away from outsiders. This helps lower their chance of getting the virus. It also prevents its spread.

Can Cats Get COVID-19?

Yes, domestic cats can catch SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from close contact with sick people. This fact worries many pet owners. They wonder: can cats get covid-19 and how bad can it get?

It’s important to note that cats don’t get sick in the same way people do. They usually have much milder symptoms. This shows the virus affects cats differently.

Infections in cats mostly come from being around their sick owners for a long time. This shows how key it is to keep pets safe when someone at home has COVID-19.

To better understand, let’s compare how sick people and cats get:

Aspect Humans Cats
Common Symptoms Fever, cough, difficulty breathing Mild respiratory signs, if any
Severity Can range from mild to severe Typically mild

So, while it’s true that cats can get the virus from humans, it doesn’t hit them as hard. Scientists are still learning about this, helping us take better care of our cats.

Feline Coronavirus Transmission

It’s key to know how cats catch the coronavirus. This helps keep pets safe. Though evidence is low, cats catching SARS-CoV-2 from humans seems rare. Still, we must learn and prevent as much as we can.

feline coronavirus transmission

Transmission from Humans to Cats

Cats often catch SARS-CoV-2 from close contact with their sick humans. The CDC and the OIE say it can happen but it’s not common. Yet, knowing it’s possible means we should be careful.

Transmission Among Animals

Passing the virus from one animal to another is less understood. Studies have shown it can happen between cats in labs. But, seeing this in the real world is not common. Experts believe keeping pets clean and away from sick animals helps prevent it.

Mode of Transmission Likelihood
Human to Cat Possible but rare
Cat to Human Exceedingly rare
Cat to Cat Possible under specific conditions

Symptoms of COVID-19 in Cats

We’re still learning how SARS-CoV-2 affects cats. But knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 in cats is key. This helps us get them the right care fast. Cats often show milder signs than people do.

Common Symptoms

COVID-19 in cats can make them have breathing problems. This is like what happens to humans. Cats may show signs like:

  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and fatigue

Severity of Illness

Cats getting sick with cats and respiratory viruses is worrying. Yet, they mostly have mild issues. Most get better without big problems. Vets say pets don’t often get very sick from SARS-CoV-2.

Diagnosis and Testing for Cats

Figuring out if a cat has SARS-CoV-2 takes careful thought. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) usually says no to testing for SARS-CoV-2 in pets. But, vets might think differently if a cat shows unusual signs that don’t fit common illnesses.

Starting to diagnose feline COVID-19 is done step by step. At first, other respiratory problems must be checked. SARS-CoV-2 only comes into the picture after these are not the cause. The goal is to keep regular health checks first and follow a certain plan before special tests.

Steps Considerations
Initial Examination Check for typical cat illnesses.
Secondary Testing Identify other causes if symptoms persist.
Consider SARS-CoV-2 After all common illnesses are ruled out.
Confirmatory Test Use specific SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics on vets’ discretion.

This careful method makes sure we use resources smartly. It ensures pets get the right diagnosis without needless testing for SARS-CoV-2 in pets. It focuses on protecting the well-being of animals and people. It aims to reduce unnecessary tests by highlighting real signs of SARS-CoV-2.

Preventing COVID-19 in Pets

Keeping our pets safe during the pandemic is as important as our own health. Groups like the AVMA, CDC, and USDA say we need to take steps to protect them from COVID-19.

Hygiene Practices for Pet Owners

It’s key to follow hygiene practices for pet owners. Washing hands before and after touching pets or their stuff helps a lot. Cleaning things pets use often, like bowls and toys, is important for preventing COVID-19 in pets.

Social Distancing for Pets

Pets need to keep their distance, just like people. Don’t take them to crowded places. Keeping pets away from others outside your home is smart. It helps make sure social distancing for pets works well.

What to Do If You Have COVID-19

If a pet owner gets COVID-19, they should stay away from their pets. This means not cuddling or sharing food with them. It’s important to wear a mask and clean your hands before being around pets. These actions are key in preventing COVID-19 in pets at home.

Following these tips helps keep your pets safe during these tough times.

Do Cats Spread COVID-19 to Humans?

Research has focused on if cats spread COVID-19 to people. We’re learning how the virus behaves in animals. But so far, there’s no strong proof that cats are a big worry in passing COVID-19 to humans.

Current Evidence and Research

Health experts like the CDC, AVMA, and WHO have looked into cats and the virus. They found that while cats can get infected, they seldom give the virus to people. Most cases in pets came from human contact. This shows us that people are more likely to give the virus to pets, not the other way around.

Safety Guidelines for Pet Owners

Even though there’s a low chance of getting the virus from cats, it’s smart to be safe. The CDC and AVMA have tips to keep pet owners safe.

  • If infected, limit interactions with your pets similar to household members.
  • Avoid petting, snuggling, or sharing food with your cats during your illness.
  • Ensure anyone interacting with your pets maintains good hygiene, such as washing hands before and after contact.
  • Keep in mind the importance of keeping pets indoors to avoid potential external exposure.
Recommendation Details
Limit Interactions If the owner is infected, they should minimize contact with the pet.
Hygiene Practices Always wash hands before and after touching pets.
Indoor Safety Keep pets indoors to reduce the opportunity for virus transmission.

Other Animals and COVID-19

Not just pets, but other animals have gotten COVID-19 too. Minks, for example, have gotten really sick. This led to big outbreaks on mink farms across the globe. Scientists are now studying how these animals catch and spread the virus.

Zoo animals, like lions and tigers, have also caught the virus. This shows that even big cats can get sick.

Some animals in the wild, like white-tailed deer, have had the virus too. But, there’s no proof they can give it to people. Scientists keep checking on this to make sure we understand the risk.

Below is a list of animals that have gotten COVID-19:

Animal Type of Interaction Documented Transmission to Humans
Minks Farm environments No
Zoo Animals (Tigers, Lions) Close contact with humans No
White-Tailed Deer Wild populations No

Studying coronavirus and animals is key to our safety. It shows us how wide the virus can spread. It also stresses the need for good safety steps.

Expert Insights and Recommendations

The COVID-19 pandemic has made caring for pets a bit complex. Many vets and health groups have given out tips.

veterinary guidelines for COVID-19

Veterinary Guidelines

Vet guidelines for COVID-19 tell pet owners who are sick to be careful. They say to touch pets less, keep them inside, and not share stuff like food or beds.

Recommendations from Health Organizations

The CDC and WHO’s pet tips are like the vet’s advice. They say to clean your hands a lot, wear masks, and not get too close to your pets.

Here are some key points to remember:

Source Key Recommendations
CDC Ensure hygiene, maintain distance, use masks
WHO Adopt strict pet hygiene, avoid sharing items
AVMA Minimize contact, keep pets indoors

The tips above all say to stay clean and not be too close to pets now. It’s to keep both people and pets safe.


The world is facing tough challenges due to COVID-19. It’s key to know how it affects pets, especially cats. Cats can catch COVID-19 from humans. But, cats passing the virus to people is very rare.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) stresses being careful. They say to keep clean and avoid close pet contact if you’re sick. This helps stop the virus from spreading. Keeping humans and pets safe is the goal.

Our summary on COVID-19 and pets points out something important. Cats might catch the virus, but the risk to us stays low. By being clean and keeping distance with pets, we fight the pandemic. Being smart pet owners is crucial right now.


Can cats get COVID-19?

Yes, cats can get the virus from being close to sick people. They usually get less sick.

How does SARS-CoV-2 affect animals?

Animals, like cats and dogs, can get the virus but with milder symptoms. The World Organisation for Animal Health keeps track of these cases.

Which pets are most susceptible to SARS-CoV-2?

Pets like cats and dogs can catch the virus. Also, animals like mink and zoo big cats got sick from close contact with people.

How is SARS-CoV-2 transmitted from humans to cats?

The main way cats get the virus is from close time with sick people. It’s important to keep clean and limit touching.

Can cats transmit COVID-19 to humans or other animals?

There’s not much proof that cats pass the virus to humans or other animals. But a rare case in Thailand showed it might be possible. It’s very rare, though.

What are common symptoms of COVID-19 in cats?

Sick cats might cough, sneeze, or have a hard time breathing. Most only get a little sick or not at all.

How severe is COVID-19 in cats?

COVID-19 is usually not serious in cats. They tend to have mild symptoms. Vets say pets don’t often get very sick from the virus.

Should I get my cat tested for SARS-CoV-2?

The vet group says not to test pets all the time. Vets should think about the virus after checking other common sicknesses in cats.

What hygiene practices should pet owners follow?

Owners should wash hands before and after touching pets. Avoid close contact if you’re sick, and try to keep pets inside.

How can pet owners practice social distancing for their pets?

Keep pets away from people and animals outside the home. This is especially important if you’re sick to stop the virus spreading.

What should I do if I have COVID-19?

Avoid close contact with your pets if you’re sick. Don’t pet or share food with them. It’s important to follow health guidelines.

What does current evidence say about cats spreading COVID-19 to humans?

Right now, it looks like cats don’t really spread the virus to people much. Still, it’s good to stay safe and follow advice.

What are the safety guidelines for pet owners during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Keep clean, hold pets inside, and avoid meeting others. If sick, limit touching pets. These steps keep both pets and people safe.

How does the virus affect other animals like mink and deer?

Besides pets, animals like mink and some wildlife got sick from people. But, there’s no proof deer passed it back to people.

What are the veterinary guidelines regarding COVID-19 and pets?

Vets say to stay clean, keep pets from meeting others, and test pets only when needed. This stops the virus from spreading.

What recommendations do health organizations provide for pet owners?

Groups like the CDC and vet association say to clean well, avoid sick contact, and keep pets inside. This cuts down virus risk.

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