CDC says two pet cats in US diagnosed with mild cases of COVID-19

The US CDC has published a new advisory revealing that two pet cats have been diagnosed with mild cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The cats are both located in New York, according to the CDC, which says these are the first pets in the nation to test positive for the virus. Experts expect both cats, which are located in different parts of the state, to recover.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on Wednesday. This statement joins select reports of other animals around the world that have tested positive for the virus. Both cats were identified as having mild respiratory illnesses; the first cat was tested by a vet after showing signs of the virus. In that case, none of the humans who lived in the household had been confirmed to have COVID-19.

The second cat, meanwhile, also started showing symptoms of the virus and was tested. In this case, the cat's owner had also tested positive for the disease before the cat started showing symptoms, indicating it may have passed from the owner to the pet. That particular household had two cats, but the second pet didn't show any signs of the condition.

Once the positive results were available from the veterinary lab, they were passed on to state and federal officials, prompting a confirmation testing from the NVSL. According to the CDC, there isn't any evidence at this point that pets are spreading the virus within the US, but it's unknown how different animals may be impacted by the virus.

At this point in time, the agency is advising the public to keep their pets away from other people and animals who live outside of the household. As well, cats should ideally be kept indoors and dogs should be kept at a distance from other people and animals when outdoors. The CDC says that owners should also avoid dog parks at this time.