Cats, dogs and the coronavirus

Cats, dogs and the coronavirus

UPDATE (April 9, 2020):

Right off the top: we are uncertain. As of right now, April 6, 2020 at approximately 12:45 pm, there is no definitive evidence of how cats, dogs and other pets may play a role in transmitting coronavirus.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is currently stating on their website that “there is no evidence that pets play a role in transmitting COVID-19 to humans.”

However, there is now evidence that people can transmit the viral threat to pets, as documented in the case of at least one tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York and a housecat in Belgium.

“This is the first time that any of us know of anywhere in the world that a person infected the animal and the animal got sick," Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian at the zoo, told Reuters news agency on Sunday, according to the BBC. It is believed that Nadia, the tiger in question, was exposed to the virus by an asymptomatic zookeeper. Nadia, as well as her sister Azul and two other Amur tigers are showing respiratory symptoms of COVID-19. Only Nadia was tested for the virus, as conducting the test required anesthesia, according to the New York Times.

In Belgium, a domestic cat was exposed to the virus from their human companion, who had recently returned from a trip to Northern Italy and was sick. The cat (whose name was not mentioned in this report) recovered within nine days but remains in quarantine. Blood tests will likely verify the culprit as COVID-19 once quarantine ends.

At this time it does not appear domestic animals living with us are transmission points for the virus, but some precautions, such as continuing to wash hands, avoiding sneezing or coughing on them and limiting who your pet interacts with outside of the home would be beneficial, according to the Global report.

The Fur-Bearers are hopeful that the general public will not react negatively to their pets in light of this news. Pets do not need to be surrendered or abandoned as a result of COVID-19.We are preparing articles to help you entertain and keep healthy cats, dogs and other pets who may need to be isolated with you. To get the most available information from the Canadian government on COVID-19 please visit:

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The Fur-Bearers is a national non-profit based in Vancouver. It was formed in 1953 and advocates on behalf of fur-bearing animals in the wild and in confinement, and promotes co-existence with wildlife. More about our history and campaigns can be found at

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