Covid cat: Pet becomes first in the UK to catch coronavirus

27 July 2020, 14:03 | Updated: 27 July 2020, 14:17

A cat in Argentina wears a mini-mask to protect it from coronavirus
A cat in Argentina wears a mini-mask to protect it from coronavirus. Picture: Getty

By Kate Buck

A pet cat has become the first to test positive for coronavirus after catching it from its owners.

The infection was confirmed at the Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratory in Weybridge on Wednesday.

Experts believe the animal contracted Covid-19 from its owners, who had previously tested positive.

It had previously been diagnosed with feline herpes virus, a common cat respiratory infection, but the sample was also tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus known to cause Covid- 19, as part of a research programme.

The cat and its family have all since made a full recovery and there was no further transmission to other people or animals.

A pet cat (not pictured) has been confirmed to have coronavirus in the UK
A pet cat (not pictured) has been confirmed to have coronavirus in the UK. Picture: PA

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.

"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."

Although this is the first case of cat being infected with the virus in the UK, feline species have previously been confirmed to have the virus.

In April, a tiger at Bronx Zoo in New York contracted the disease after developing a dry cough.

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