The British Veterinary Association has had to clarify its position following a BBC report about cats and coronavirus.
The report’s headline had suggested that veterinary advice was to keep all cats indoors, but the BVA has now explained this must only be the case for infected households or self-isolating pet owners.
The BBC had initially asked the BVA questions regarding general advice for pet owners during the crisis. In turn, the BVA had “given information that related to both general advice and specific advice for those in infected households, but not made the distinction clear”.
BVA president Daniella Dos Santos said: “It’s incredibly important that information and advice for the public is clear and we regret that this story will have caused worry and upset amongst cat owners.
“We are not advising that all cats are kept indoors. Only cats from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.”
She added: “There have been a tiny number of cases of Covid-19 in animals and 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.
“And, as a precaution, for pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating we are recommending that you keep your cat indoors if possible, during that time. It is very important that people don’t panic about their pets. There is no evidence that animals can pass the disease to humans.”