A government press release from Hong Kong has confirmed that a pet dog tested positive for the coronavirus. This is the first case of a pet animal having the virus, according to Fox News–leaving many cat owners asking ‘can cats catch coronavirus’ too.
Cats Owners Are Scared of their Cats Catching Coronavirus
The dog is now in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus, says the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). The dog is said to have tested a ‘weak positive’ for the COVID-19 virus.
The statement explained that the dog was picked up from a residential flat by AFCD staff in Tai Hang and was sent to an animal keeping facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
After arriving, nasal oral cavity samples that were collected from the dog tested positive although the dog doesn’t have any of the ‘relevant symptoms’ normally associated with coronavirus.
The AFCD release also stated, “At present, the AFCD does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected with COVID-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people.”
“The department will conduct close monitoring of the above dog and collect further samples for testing to confirm if the dog has really been infected with the virus or this is a result of environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose.”
“Repeated tests will be conducted for the dog and it will only be returned when the test result is negative,” read the press release.
Pets of Patients with Coronavirus Placed in Quarantine
The department stressed that if someone comes down with coronavirus that they should have their pet also quarantined for at least 14 days, which is the length of COVID-19’s reported incubation period.
Pet owners were also urged to wash their hands thoroughly with soap after being in contact with animals and to maintain a ‘good habit of hygiene. Wearing masks while going outdoors was also encouraged.
“If there are any changes in the health condition of the pets, advice from veterinarians should be sought as soon as possible,” the release stated.
Cat Owners in China Putting Masks on Their Cats to Protect Them From Coronavirus
Some pet owners are already taking extra precautions to protect their pets from coronavirus. The Chinese social media app Weibo has been showing pets, including cats, wearing makeshift masks in an attempt to keep them safe from the virus.
But is it really necessary for pets to wear masks to protect them from coronavirus? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no evidence yet exists.
“At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus,” said WHO. We should note that the new coronavirus is different from the strain already known to infect cats.
Even if cats could contact the coronavirus, a mask might not offer any true protection. An infectious disease doctor recently told Fox News that they do little good when it comes to protecting humans from acquiring or spreading illnesses.
This is because surgical masks are usually made from a flimsy material that still allows air to move in and out thanks to gaps around the edges of the mouth and cheeks.