COVID 19 and Cats
April 8th 4pm
Dear Oxford Cat Clinic client,
We are aware that some alarming headlines have appeared in the last 24 hours regarding cats and Covid-19. Do not worry! - we are here to keep you informed. Here is what you need to know:
At the Oxford Cat Clinic we support the official government advice and guidelines, as follows:
There is no evidence of coronavirus circulating in pets or other animals in the UK
There is nothing to suggest animals may transmit the disease to humans.
In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with your cats
BVA and the BBC-headlines
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has apologised for any alarm caused after a previous press release and has clarified its position in light of a report on the BBC news website relating to cats and coronavirus. The headline of the article suggested that veterinary advice was to keep all cats indoors, but the BVA has now explained this advice is only in relation to cats in infected households or where people are self-isolating.
This is the updated BVA advice:
BVA are not advising that all cats are kept indoors. This only needs to be considered for cats from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating - and then only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors for stress-related medical reasons.
There have been a tiny number of cases where Covid-19 has been detected in animals. In all cases it is likely that the transmission was human to animal. There is NO evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners
Animals can act as “soft surfaces”, as the virus could be on their fur in the same way it is on other surfaces, such as tables and doorknobs. That’s why BVA main advice for pet owners continues to be to practise good hand hygiene. However, as a precaution, for pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating BVA recommend that you keep your cat indoors if possible, during that time, to prevent risk of spread to your neighbours.
Further information / advice from us at the Oxford Cat Clinic:
At the OCC we also recommend that members of the public do not "pet" any animal they encounter when outdoors; cat, dog, horse etc
We do not recommend washing or wiping your pet as there is no current evidence of transmission from fur to humans. We strongly advise against the use of any disinfectant on cats; there is a high potential for toxicity, especially with phenolic substances such as Dettol. If you do choose to use any product it must be pet-safe.
On 27 March it was reported that a cat in Belgium, whose owner is positive for Covid-19, had also tested positive for coronavirus and showed mild clinical signs. The owner may have infected the cat, but the cat is recovered and is doing well. This appears to be an isolated case, the exact details of which are not clear. At this point we, along with all other veterinary bodies, advise good hand hygiene and normal precautions when handling your cat.
It is very important that people do not panic about their pets. They are an important emotional support during these difficult times. You need them and they need you.
Keep an eye on our website for further Covid-19 updates.