Pet cat becomes first animal in the UK to get Covid-19 after catching the virus from its owners
- Officials believe the unidentified cat caught the coronavirus from its owners
- Both the cat and its owners have made a full recovery, health officials said
- It is not the first time an animal has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, however
A pet cat has become the first animal in the UK to be diagnosed with Covid-19, it was revealed today.
Officials believe the cat — which wasn’t identified — caught the coronavirus from its owners and ‘not the other way round’.
Both the cat and its owners have made a full recovery and there was no transmission of the virus to other animals or people in the household, health bosses said.
It is not the first time an animal has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in humans.
The first dog in the world to catch coronavirus died after it was declared disease-free and returned home to its owner in Hong Kong.
The 17-year-old Pomeranian, whose owner caught Covid-19, had been quarantined at a government facility but returned home over the weekend.
Health bosses believe the cat caught the coronavirus from its owners and ‘not the other way round’ (stock)
The infection was confirmed following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge last Wednesday.
Health officials said there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners.
And they added that there is also no proof that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people.
The advice from Public Health England is for people to wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet cat in England.
‘This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within in a few days.
Hongkonger Yvonne Chow Hau Yee, pictured in an undated photo, is believed to be the owner of the dog that has contracted the virus
‘There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.’
Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: ‘The pet cat was initially diagnosed by a private vet with feline herpes virus, a common cat respiratory infection, but the sample was also tested for SARS-CoV-2 as part of a research programme.
‘Follow-up samples tested at the APHA laboratory in Weybridge confirmed the cat was also co-infected with SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus known to cause Covid-19 in humans.’
The case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in line with international commitments.
There have been a very small number of confirmed cases in pets in other countries in Europe, North America and Asia.