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Can My Cat Get Coronavirus?

By: Rachael Bale, ANIMALS Executive Editor

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Rachael BaleANIMALS Executive Editor

We have another coronavirus first: Two cats in New York state are the first in the U.S. to test positive for the virus. The owner of one had been diagnosed with COVID-19, but no one in the household of the second cat had tested positive, so we don’t yet know where it came from. The good news: They both had only mild illnesses and are expected to be just fine.

Before you get too worried, keep in mind that cases of pet cats getting coronavirus are very rare: In the entire world, there are only three confirmed cases of cats getting sick and two confirmed cases of dogs. And there is no evidence the disease could spread in the opposite direction, from cats to humans. (Pictured: a cat being looked over at the San Diego Humane Society on Tuesday).

To keep them healthy, treat your pets just as you would with any family member: If someone in your household is sick, they should isolate themselves. Make sure your pet maintains social distancing too—the CDC recommends they shouldn’t interact with anyone outside your household. And if you have a dog, when you go out on walks, both of you should stay six feet away from other people and animals.

We also learned yesterday that four more tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo also have the virus, bringing the total infected to eight big cats.

Scientists have been working hard to determine what other species are potentially susceptible to the coronavirus, but there’s still so much we don’t know. We’ll continue to follow it closely, so stay tuned.

Read more at the National Geographic website!

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