The CDC has urged people to include pets in their social distancing habits to avoid COVID-19 infection.
Last week the CDC reported 2 cats living in New York had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after demonstrating mild respiratory symptoms. They are expected to make a full recovery.
The CDC recommends the following:
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 or people.
Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
Earlier this month, Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers at a news conference urged those who are sick with COVID to avoid being the “primary caretaker” of their pets until further studies could be done regarding their susceptibility and spread of the deadly virus.
The conference occurred in light of a Bronx Zoo tiger becoming infected with COVID-19.
A cat in Belgium last month tested positive for the COVID-19 as well.
Although there are no definitive cases of pets giving COVID to their owners, officials believe we may be able to infect them.
What additionally needs to be investigated is if the virus can live temporarily on the animal as a “surface” allowing others who touch it to become contaminated.
For those of us with pets, we know that “social distancing” is not in their vocabulary or daily habits. Most cats and dogs like to sleep in bed with their owners, some competing for their owner’s pillows.
Although most of us would prefer the comfort of our furry friend if convalescing at home with COVID, the CDC recommends the following:
If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.