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UK cat tests positive for COVID-19, but there’s no need to panic reading-time-icon 2 min read

A UK pet cat tested positive for COVID-19.

The case was confirmed last week (July 22nd) after tests were carried out at the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Surrey.

According to experts, it’s the first instance in the UK where a pet has been infected by Covid-19, but owners don’t need to panic - this doesn’t mean that the coronavirus can spread from pets to their owners.

In fact, all evidence points out that, in those exceptionally rare cases where animals do contract Covid-19, the virus spreads from humans to animals and not the other way around.

How many animals have caught Covid-19?

According to officials, this case is rare and is no cause for alarm. Across the world in Europe, Asia and North America, there have been very few cases of animals being affected by the disease.

Vets are calling to owners not to panic. In those rare instances where COVID-19 has been detected in pets, their symptoms have been mild, and the animal has recovered fully within a few days.

At the moment, there’s no evidence to show that pets can transmit the virus directly to humans.

How did the cat catch the virus?

The cat was originally diagnosed with feline herpesvirus, but further tests proved they were also infected with Covid-19.

It seems that the cat in question caught the virus from their owners, who had previously tested positive for the virus.

The cat and their owner have since made a full recovery and there have been no reports of the virus spreading to other people/animals within their household.


Read more: Cat vaccinations: keeping your kitten healthy and happy.


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What to do if you’re concerned?

First things first – try your best to stay calm and don’t panic. These cases are incredibly rare and the chances of your pet contracting Covid-19 are very small.

If you’re self-isolating, or if you have cough- or flu-like symptoms, try to limit your contact with your pet as best you can.

If you’ve had a confirmed case of Covid-19, do your best to keep your cat indoors – unless your vet has warned against this on medical grounds.


Read more: 5 enrichment ideas for cats.


Safety measures

Wash your hands regularly, before and after coming into contact with your pet or any other animal. This will help limit the spread of infection.

If you think you or your pet has been affected by Covid-19, please refrain from visiting your practice right away. Call them first and they’ll be able to advise you on what to do next. 

Use our Find a Vet page to locate your nearest My Family Vets practice, or arrange an appointment to speak to a vet online, from the comfort of your own home with Online Vets

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