Your furry friend is your world, and with whatever happens in the world right now, you want to make sure your cat is safe. Cases in animals have so far been rare. However, as the virus continues to permeate countries and mutate different strains, it is important to take precautions and be aware of the risks.
There are approximately 89 million dogs and 94 million cats in the United States, according to the Humane Society, but only 49 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in cats and 35 confirmed cases in dogs. Veterinarians believe cats are at higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 than dogs, although they don’t believe pets are particularly susceptible.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) states:
“Now that SARS-CoV-2 infections are widespread in the human population, there is a possibility that certain animal species could become infected through close contact with infected people. Cats (domestic and large cats), mink and dogs have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the field after contact with people known or suspected to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 In the field, cats have shown clinical signs of disease, including respiratory and gastrointestinal signs . Although several animal species have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. These infections are not drivers of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is caused by human-to-human transmission. “
So you don’t have to abandon your best partner, he won’t infect you. But can you spot the signs that your cat is infected?
Why does whiskers cough? Sign your cat has COVID-19
According to the CDC, the following signs may indicate that your cat has contracted COVID-19:
- Fever – A normal temperature for your cat is between 99.5 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. When their body temperature reaches or exceeds 103.5 ° F, they have a fever.
- Cough – You may be used to your cat coughing a hairball, but if her cough continues and doesn’t seem to be grooming it should be noted. Even if it’s not COVID, it could be a sign of another respiratory infection like kennel cough.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Lethargy (unusual laziness or indolence)
- Runny nose
- Eye discharge
Just like with infected people, your cat may not have all of these symptoms at the same time, or not at all. If they have any combination of these signs, especially after coming into contact with an infected person, it is best to contact your veterinarian. COVID-19 tests are currently available for a wide variety of animals, including cats. However, most veterinarians only recommend testing on animals that experience these symptoms when in close contact with a human with COVID-19. If you are concerned about your cat or other pet, click here to learn more about Vetster. There you can get in touch with thousands of licensed veterinarians who offer 24/7 online pet care via video, chat and voice-controlled appointments. With Vetster, you can go to the vet without ever leaving your home!
Is your furry buddy a dog, not a cat? Click here to learn more about your dog’s signs of COVID-19.
How to protect your cat during COVID-19
So far, the virus has only been transmitted to cats from infected people, not the other way around. So you don’t have to worry about getting Coronavirus from your cat, but they can get it from you. However, it is a good idea to take certain precautions and create a game plan in case you should become infected. How can you protect your cat?
- Use good hygiene practices– Wash your hands before and after handling your cat and its food, and avoid kissing it (I know it is difficult).
- Disinfect your household regularly– Fortunately, the virus is not resistant to regular disinfectant and cleaning products. Wipe down any surfaces that you and your cat use frequently to kill the virus and prevent it from spreading.
- Limit contact with people– That’s right, your cat needs social distance too. Since the risk of human-to-cat transmission appears to be human, your cat should avoid unnecessary human contact. That could mean more time for your cat outdoors and of course, limit the presence of people in your home.
- Support your cat’s wellbeing– A healthy cat with a strong immune system is more resistant to infection. A holistic approach to your pet’s health can include proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and more.
My cat has COVID, what do I do now?
You’ve contacted your vet and either had your cat tested or received an order to stay at home. There are a few things you should know about grooming your infected cat at home.
First, your infected cat must be isolated from other pets and people, especially those with weakened immune systems. This means that a designated “sick room” is set up, be it the laundry room, a bathroom or a guest room. If possible, provide a separate bathroom area or litter box for other pets.
If your cat is an outdoor cat or a mix of indoor and outdoor cats, they must be kept indoors now. While this can be stressful for your pet, better than them, potentially spreading the virus to their outdoor adventure friends.
You need to take extra precautions when cleaning up after your pet. Wear gloves when handling feces and waste. And wash your hands with soap and water before and after cleaning the litter box. Soft materials like blankets and bed linen can be washed and reused regularly. Other items such as bowls and toys should be disinfected. Do not attempt to bathe or clean your cat with disinfectants such as alcohol, hand sanitizer, countercleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners.
Of course, make sure to monitor your cat’s symptoms and keep in touch with your veterinarian on a regular basis. With Vetster you can easily book an online appointment from your smartphone or tablet. You can speak directly to a veterinary doctor and even get prescriptions without ever leaving your home. This can be very helpful, especially if you are also infected and cannot go to the veterinarian’s office.
Concerned About Your Cat’s Health? Click here to book an online appointment through Vetster.
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