Norfolk vet insists cats can’t carry coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 14:16 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 14 April 2020
© Archant Norfolk 2013
A Norfolk vet has said vulnerable cat owners may want to refrain from stroking their pets - but that there is no evidence felines carry the virus.
Reports that a tiger in a New York zoo and a number of cats in China and Belgium have got the coronavirus have raised concerns among pet lovers everywhere.
And confusion over whether or not millions of cats should be placed on lockdown even crashed the British Veterinary Association’s website last week as owners sought reassurance.
But Chris Tomlinson, director at Westover Vets based at the Small Animal practice in North Walsham, said there was no need to panic.
Mr Tomlinson said people who were self-isolating with suspected Covid-19 or flu-like symptoms could nonetheless choose to keep their cat indoors.
He said: “This is because cats’ fur, like any surface, can be a source of transmission for the virus. A particularly friendly cat may move from an infected household to a non-infected household, bringing the transmission with them.”
Mr Tomlinson said the decision to keep a cat indoors should be weighed against the stress this may cause.
He said: “An active cat used to accessing outdoors may be caused undue stress by being kept in. It may be preferable if someone is confirmed or suspected of being infected with Covid-19 to refrain from stroking or handling their pets, and staying isolated from the rest of the household within the home.”
Mr Tomlinson said that despite a Chinese study that showed cats were suspectable to the coronavirus and may be able to transmit the virus to other cats, there was no evidence that an infected cat could pass on the virus to a human.
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