First, it was the tigers. Then the lions. Now, two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for coronavirus. Both had mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to make a full recovery, but still!
The Department of Agriculture confirmed that the cats were the first pets in the country to test positive for the virus, but said there’s no evidence that they play a role in spreading it. “There is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare,” they said. In other words, please do not abandon your cats!
According to CNN, the first cat was tested after showing mild respiratory symptoms, though none of the humans in the house were confirmed to have the virus:
It’s possible, officials said, that the cat was infected by somebody outside the home. Someone inside the house, with mild or no symptoms, could have also transmitted the virus.
The second cat, in a separate area of New York, was also tested after it showed signs of respiratory illness. The owner of that cat tested positive for Covid-19 before the cat became ill, but another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness.
If you’re wondering why cats are able to get tests when humans aren’t, a CDC official told the AP that the animal tests use different chemicals than human tests, which have been in short supply.
The CDC is recommending that people limit their pets’ interactions with animals and people they don’t live with. Which means that in addition to all the other sacrifices we have to make, it’s probably a good idea to stop petting all the fur muffins you see in your neighborhood until things have settled. But like social distancing from humans, it’s a worthwhile sacrifice if it means keeping our little weeblets safe.