COVID-19 and Cats
Posted on 25 May, 2020
Information sourced from Cats Protection (link below) and is correct as of 22 May 2020. For further information other than that found below, please click on the link below; and for further up to date information on coronavirus, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Do I need to be worried about transmitting COVID-19 to my cat?
There have been a very small number of reports in the media suggesting transmission of COVID-19 from people to cats may be possible. Currently the evidence is limited and the number of cats involved is extremely low, implying transmission from humans to cats is extremely rare. Therefore, it is important that owners should not worry unnecessarily.
As a precaution, it is advised that owners should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling their pet and those infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) should be particularly mindful by minimising contact.
Can cats transmit COVID-19 to people?
There is currently no evidence that cats can transmit COVID-19 to humans and so owners should not worry unnecessarily.
However, as it is known that the virus can survive on surfaces such as door handles, it may be possible, despite the lack of evidence, for the virus to survive in a similar way on a cat’s fur.
- As a precaution it is advised that owners carry out good hygiene and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after handling their cat.
- You may want to wipe your cat down with a damp cloth if they are coming into contact with someone else that is healthy and not from your household. Do not use any disinfectant wipes or disinfectants (such as Dettol) on your cat. These contain ingredients and chemicals toxic to cats if ingested.
Is it safe to stroke other people’s cats and/or let them in my house?
Because of the possibility of COVID-19 transferring from an infected person to the fur of a cat and because so little is known about how long the virus might survive on the fur we advise against stroking or picking up strange cats (eg in the street) or putting paper collars on suspected stray cats at this time as a way of finding out if they are owned. We also advise against allowing other people’s cats, stray or community cats into your house.
We know that some cats do like to live in several households and ‘visit’ but not allowing them in during the current crisis will minimise any risks of cats helping to spread COVID-19.