8 April 2020
Cats and Covid-19
There is currently no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted from cats to humans. COVID-19 outbreaks are due to human-human contact. Cat owners infected with COVID-19 should minimise contact with their cat where possible and should follow good hygiene protocols (i.e. handwashing before and after handling).
To date, no research has been done to see if the virus can be transmitted on pet fur. Pet fur is porous, so is less likely to transmit the virus than a smooth surface, however, all pet owners are advised to wash their hands before and after contact with their pet. Bathing is not necessary for cats living with owners who are infected with COVID-19.
Cat owners with COVID-19 should, if possible, try to minimise the amount of time their cat spends outdoors. However, it is also important to consider the welfare of the individual cat when making an assessment regarding outside access. Some cats will find staying inside very stressful, so outside access should be decided on each individual cat’s lifestyle and temperament.
The public should be advised not to interact with any cats that are not their own. Also, due to the risk of unwanted kittens and spread of feline disease, it is not recommended for unneutered and unvaccinated kittens to go outside.
For more information, please see the recent statement here by the British Veterinary Association – BVA.