Two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States.
The cats, which had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover, are thought to have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighbourhoods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The finding, which comes after positive tests in some tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo, adds to a small number of confirmed cases of the virus in animals worldwide.
U.S. authorities, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, say that while it appears some animals can get the virus from people, there’s no indication pets are transmitting it to human beings.
Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, a (Center for Disease Control) CDC official who works on human-animal health connections, stressed that there’s no need for pet owners to panic, or rush to test their animals.
Still, the CDC is recommending that people prevent their pets from interacting with people or animals outside their homes.