MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida veterinarians warn you shouldn’t worry, but be aware, after two cats in New York tested positive for COVID-19.
“We do not think at this time that it is going to be transmissible from pet to owner,” said Dr. Julia Outland with Lakeside Animal Hospital in Plantation.
“We say, however, if there is a sick person in the household, you may want to find another house to house your pet,” Dr. Outland added. “And take precaution and wear gloves.”
On Wednesday, the USDA confirmed two pet cats in New York living in separate homes tested positive for COVID-19.
“Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery,” the USDA said in a press release.
Dr. Lucia Alvarez, a veterinarian with Leader Animal Specialty Hospital in Cooper City, said pet owners should not expect their pet to get sick unless a member of their household has tested positive for the coronavirus.
If your pet does get sick, South Florida vets told CBS4 the symptoms could be rather mild.
“So far it’s been reported it’s mild upper respiratory signs,” Dr. Outland said. “Cats are very prone to upper respiratory infection anyway, so I’m not sure that it’s anything other than what we see on a routine upper respiratory infection.”
Dr. Alvarez added if your cat does test positive for the coronavirus, it may have a mild cough or not eat very well.
Both Dr. Alvarez and Dr. Outland agreed while there is limited information, it seems cats are more susceptible to the coronavirus than dogs.
Cherie Wachter with the Humane Society of Broward County said they have already had at least one person surrender their cat over coronavirus fears.
“Prior to anything being closed, we did have one elderly gentleman who was afraid he was going to get sick and he had no one so he brought his cat in. It has since found a home,” Wachter said.
Wachter urged anyone with concerns to take precautions, but not surrender your animal.
“I would really strongly discourage that,” Wachter said. “Pets provide comfort, and your pets need you just as much as you need them.”