First, we had eight big cats test positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo, and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that two domestic felines in different parts of New York also have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the deadly disease.
The first COVID-19 case of a big cat at the zoo was reported on April 5, according to ABC News. Staff at the Bronx zoo, which has been shuttered since March 16, reported that a four-year-old female Malayan tiger tested positive for COVID-19 and that subsequently more sick animals were tested, bringing the total of cats infected to eight, including five tigers and three lions.
On Wednesday, according to The Blaze, the CDC announced that two domestic cats developed a mild respiratory illness and tested positive for the virus. In one case, the owner was diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to the cat exhibiting symptoms. Both cats are expected to recover.
Dr. Casey Behravesh, a CDC official, said in a statement, according to The Blaze:
“We don’t want people to be afraid of pets. There’s no evidence that pets are playing a role in spreading this disease to people.”
The CDC does not recommend routine testing of pets at this time, but offers the following guidelines:
- Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household
- Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals and people
- Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals
- Avoid dog parks or other public laces where a large number of people and dogs gather
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