Can your pets get COVID-19?

We’re not sure just yet, but here’s what we know.

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A picture of a dog.

It was recently reported by many news outlets that a tiger in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19.

That tiger, Nadia, is mildly sick but doing well, per the New York Times. But does this mean that your housecat is at risk of contracting the coronavirus and infecting your family?

It seems unlikely, says Karen A. Terio, chief of the Zoological Pathology Program at the University of Illinois veterinary college. “Given the number of people in this country that have been infected with the virus and have become ill, and the number of people in this country that own domestic cats, it seems fairly improbable that cats are an important source of the virus for people if the first case we’re diagnosing it in is a tiger.”

A not yet peer-reviewed study of feral cats in Wuhan suggested that cats had some level of exposure to the virus and some immune response, but those cats were healthy when tested.

Additionally, the World Health Organization says that there is no evidence that “companion animals” (dogs and cats) can be infected with the virus. But they say that it is always a good idea to wash your hands after contact with pets.
As of right now, it seems that your pets are safe. But it is always good to take precautions regardless, especially so now, as we do not yet know what the virus can infect.

For more information, read this New York Times article.