As two pet cats in New York test positive for COVID-19, CDC provides guidance on how to protect your pet

There is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to humans


April 22, 2020

Today the CDC and USDA announced that two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for this virus. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery.

In both cases, the cats appear to have been exposed to the virus through close contact with an infected person. There is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus to humans.

How to protect your pet

Public health officials are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19. Until we know more, 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 six feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

If you are sick with COVID-19, 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.

You can learn more about animals and COVID-19 from the CDC and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline