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Two pet cats in New York test positive for COVID-19

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Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Two domesticated cats in New York have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The two cats' diagnoses are the first reported domesticated animals in the United States to have the virus.

What are the details?

The CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced that the two cats developed a mild respiratory illness. The cats later tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Both animals, according to the report, live in different locations across the state. In one instance, a cat's owner was diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to the cat exhibiting symptoms. The second instance saw the cat traveling outdoors, prompting officials to believe the feline could have been exposed to an infected person in the cat's vicinity.

A portion of a CDC release read, "SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19."

The cats are expected to recover.

In a statement, Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh — a CDC official — said, "We don't want people to be afraid of pets. There's no evidence that pets are playing a role in spreading this disease to people."

In a Wednesday statement, the American Veterinary Medical Association said that pets can remain in the home of a COVID-19 patient so long as the patient can continue caring for the animal.

"In this emergency, pets and people each need the support of the other," the group said.

The CDC does not recommend routine testing of pets at the time of this writing.

The agency, however, does recommend the following at this time:

  • 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.
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