Can your pet make you sick?

Suzy Lalancette, staff writer

With Covid-19 sweeping the nation and getting people sick, times are hard. We know how humans are susceptible to the virus, mostly people of older age and newly-born babies. But there’s something we all don’t know. Can our pets be infected?  And the real question: can we get the virus from cats? 

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo ran tests on a few cats, and, it turns out that yes,  cats can get the virus from humans, and spread it to other cats. Chinese researchers reported that both cats and ferrets tested positive in April, while at least eight big cats in the Bronx Zoo were too. None of the cats were visibly sick, but their noses released the virus for about six days. 

Dogs have also proven to contract coronaviruses, most often respiratory illnesses. Covid-19 isn’t believed to be deadly to dogs, but yes, they can test positive for the virus. A pug in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, named Winston, was the first known case of Covid-19 in canines. A study at Duke University proved that Winston was the only animal infected out of two dogs, a cat, and a lizard in the same household. He had only mild symptoms and was doing quite well. 

Two pet dogs in Hong Kong were tested positive, but they were living in the houses of two people who were confirmed Covid-19 cases. Officials report the incident as human-to-dog transmission, not the other way around. 

At this time, there is no evidence stating that a dog, cat or any other pet can spread the virus to humans.  

It’s advised to keep your cats and dogs indoors when you can. When they come back in from their walk and/or play time, it’s recommended to wipe your pet’s fur and feet with grooming wipes.

Stay home, and stay safe.