Cat in Southwest China receives care while owners in quarantine

Special: Fight against the novel coronavirus

A family cat in the Gaoxin District of Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, was provided with food, water and a clean litter box last week after performing a nucleic acid test in her home.

The news garnered appreciation and recognition from many Chinese pet owners as well as internet users, but it also sparked an ongoing discussion about pet care in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The cat’s owner is currently in quarantine after the male owner was confirmed with COVID-19, according to Sichuan-based Red Star News.

The family has kept the cat in their toilet since the day it was quarantined and the cat was left uncontrolled for three days.

The owner communicated with staff at the quarantine site in the hopes that medical staff could examine and care for her pet, which has been with her family for many years.

“It happened that the patient’s apartment needed extensive disinfection. In previous surveys, we also learned that there was a cat in the patient’s apartment. Therefore, in addition to disinfection, a nucleic acid test should also be carried out for it, ”said a staff member from the Disease Control Center in the Gaoxin District in Chengdu.

In collaboration with the district CDC and the subdistrict office, disinfection experts and law enforcement officers, along with other relevant health care professionals, were dispatched to the patient’s home.

“Before the visit, we first contacted the patient community. In addition, due to our lack of knowledge about cats, we specifically went to a pet store and asked the shopkeeper for advice and bought cat food and cans,” said the employee.

Since the cat may not be used to nucleic acid tests, the staff asked an experienced examiner to handle them. During disinfection, the cat was temporarily housed in a pet cage and kept away from the rooms during cleaning and ventilation.

Although pets can be in close contact with the COVID-19 virus, according to the World Health Organization, there is currently no evidence that cats and dogs can transmit it to humans.

Currently, the Animal Disease Prevention Law and Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Law in China require culling, which only applies to wild animals, farm animals and poultry, not pets.

“According to China’s national catalog of the genetic resources of livestock and poultry, cats and dogs are no longer pets as human companion animals,” said Sun Haiyang, an attorney for Beijing law firm Tianchi Juntai.

“There are no corresponding regulations for dealing with pets that are infected with epidemics. Even if we do find infected ones, it is suggested to protect people’s mental health under the novel coronavirus prevention and control plan, “and provide adequate quarantine treatment for the infected pets,” Sun said.

Places like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have been pursuing a more scientific and sensible approach to pets during quarantine since the beginning of this year.

On January 21, the Daxing District in Beijing began to set up a uniform quarantine for pet owners at designated locations that are specially tailored to people with animals.

In addition, after obtaining owner consent and receiving nucleic acid tests, unsupervised pets may be transferred to outside professional facilities for temporary care.