Michigan reported their first case of a cat infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, contracted by a domestic shorthair out of Ingham County. According to a report from USA Today, this is the state’s first pet to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Roughly a week before the feline fell ill, the cat’s humans tested positive for COVID-19.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development released a statement. They reported that the cat’s humans brought the pet in for testing after the feline began to sneeze. The release further relayed that the cat had close contact with their humans while they were sick.
“Given the other reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 being found in pets throughout the world, this detection is not unexpected,” State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said.
“The cases in animals generally have involved direct contact with an owner or caretaker who was ill or tested positive for COVID-19.”
How To Care For Your Pets If You Have COVID-19
NEW: Michigan health officials encouraging pet owners to take precautions after state identifies first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a cat.
“The cat had close contact with its owners, who were confirmed to have COVID-19 about a week before the cat became ill.“ pic.twitter.com/YO7OLKQdU0
— Mark Cavitt (@MarkCavitt) October 19, 2021
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect you have it, health officials advise avoiding direct contact with your pets. This includes allowing them to sleep in the same bed as someone who’s ill, sharing food, and of course, cuddling and petting.
When you cannot avoid interacting with your pet, wear a mask and wash your hands.
Protecting your pet from exposure in the first place, however, comes from protecting yourself.
“COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking,” said Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian.
“Protecting pets begins by taking precautions to protect yourself by getting one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.”
Can Your Cat Transmit The Virus To You?
Currently, there is no evidence available that suggests animals transmit the virus to humans in any meaningful way. Which is to say, if they are transmitting it, it has been rare and largely undetectable by testing.
As part of their release, Michigan officials also included statistics for the total amount of cases where an animal has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. There have been 257 cases nationwide in the US, which includes 99 cats, since the start of the pandemic.
Did you know cats can, on rare occasions, contract the virus that causes COVID-19? What measures do you take to keep your cat safe from COVID? Let us know in the comments below.