A pet cat has become the first animal to test positive for coronavirus in the UK.
The virus has been confirmed in one cat in England from a household containing people who had tested positive for covid-19.
The Government says this is ‘a very rare event’ and the animal has made a full recovery. There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans.
Experience from other countries is that infected animals to date show only mild clinical signs and recover within a few days.
“There is also no evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is circulating between animals, including both pets and food-producing animals in the UK.
“All available evidence indicates that human-to-human transmission is responsible for the spread of coronavirus in the UK.”
In line with general public health guidance on coronavirus, people are advised to wash their hands before and after being around or handling animals or their food.
“There is no evidence that you need to wash your pets to control the spread of coronavirus. Only wash or use products on your pets that are approved for use on animals,” official guidance says.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss told Sky News: “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.”
Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, told Sky News the finding ‘should not be a cause for alarm’.