Coronavirus: The Cat In Belgium

March 31, 2020

You may have heard about a cat in Belgium “infected” with COVID-19 showing digestive and respiratory signs. This cat’s vomit and feces tested PCR positive for SARS-CoV-2. The cat lived with a human that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 one week prior to the cat showing signs of illness. It is not known if the virus from the human was the same as the virus in the cat. The implications of this news story is that COVID-19 positive humans may potentially transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus to and infect their cats.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of unanswered questions and discrepancies in this case. For instance, the COVID-19 positive human collected the cat’s vomit and fecal samples off the floor to be tested. It is likely that the positive human unintentionally contaminated the cat’s samples. The reporting does not establish a clear cause and effect relationship between the COVID-19 positive human and clinical signs in the cat. It is unclear if other causes for digestive and respiratory signs were looked into or ruled out in this cat. Fortunately, the cat recovered about 9 days later.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) stresses…

“Right now, we have limited information about SARS-CoV-2 and dogs and cats. However, taken collectively, as of right now it appears that dogs and cats are not infected easily with SARS-CoV-2, we have little to no evidence that they become sick, and there is no evidence that pets can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to people or other pets.”

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