The first pet cat in the UK to test positive for the virus responsible for causing Covid-19 in humans has been confirmed by the government. In an official news report, published on the gov.uk website, the government confirmed the finding. On the 22nd of July, tests were conducted on samples from the pet cat, at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge. According to Public Health England, people are advised to wash their hands before and after contact with animals and pets. However, despite the identification of the cat being infected with Sars-Cov-2 virus, there has been no indication of its transmission to humans.
The female Siamese cat from southern England is said to have caught the virus from its owner, both of whom tested positive for Covid-19. Since contracting the virus in May, both owners and the cat have made a full recovery. Veterinary observers noted that the cat only suffered mild symptoms, which included shortness of breath and nasal discharge.
Prior to confirmation of the diagnosis, a private veterinary practitioner misdiagnosed the ailment as feline herpes. Margaret Hosie, professor of comparative virology at Glasgow University noted her surprise that a Siamese cat caught the virus. “I thought maybe fluffier ones would be more ready to catch any sneezes or cough droplets. But you can’t draw any significance from that,” she remarked.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the British Veterinary Association seemingly suggested that all cats should be kept at home. Considerable alarm was raised among owners of the 10.9 million cats which live in the UK. However, following a public outcry, the organisation’s president clarified that only those who were self-isolating should keep their cats at home. Since then, the organisation has done much to allay concerns. Daniella Dos Santos, the association’s president, declared, “It is really important that nobody should panic. There have been a tiny handful of cases across the world where pet animals have been infected with covid and there is no evidence that pets can pass on covid to their owners.”