The RSPCA has issued a statement assuring cat owners about the risk of coronavirus contamination from their pets.
The group said that it was aware owners were concerned about the welfare of their pets during the crisis, as well as whether they posed a risk to human health. It stated that, to date, there is “no known evidence of the virus passing from pets to humans”.
The assurance comes one day after the BVA issued a statement clarifying its position on cats and coronavirus, following erroneous reports that the pets could cause a risk to owners.
The prior BBC 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”.
Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the companion animals department, said: “We’re advising cat owners not to worry and to take sensible precautions, as we would advise at any time, such as washing your hands before and after stroking your cat, as advised by Defra, and avoid being kissed, licked or sharing food with them.
“A very small number of animals have been reported to have tested positive for, or shown symptoms of, COVID-19.”
She added: “Some of these animals were deliberately exposed to the disease in an artificial setting which did not represent real life.
“The others were cases where the virus has reportedly been passed from a person to an animal. Importantly, to date, there is no known evidence of the virus passing from pets to humans.”