This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.
One singular pet cat in the UK has tested positive for covid-19. Humans being humans, this unfortunately raises the issue of whether people who were already looking for a reason to abandon the pet they took on “for life” will throw it into the street because they “can’t risk it.”
If it’s not obvious, you shouldn’t do that.
Besides the fact that thousands upon thousands of human beings have caught covid and only one animal, your cat is also much more likely to get it from you than you are from them.
The cat in question, which has remained anonymous, caught the disease from its owner who had already tested positive. Not the other way around. Kitty had some breathing problems, went to the vet and tested positive, then recovered – as did its owner.
The UK’s chief vet, Christine Middlemiss, is the voice of reason:
“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.”
If that’s not clear enough, DO NOT PANIC. Don’t kick your cat out. Don’t think you’re giving them “back to nature” and that a cat raised on tins of Felix is capable of surviving in the wild. Honour the commitment you made, or if you have to, give the poor thing to a shelter so it can find an owner who’ll look after it properly.
Worldwide, there have been very few cases of corona kitties – compared, again, to hundreds of thousands of human cases. Yet we wouldn’t be surprised at all if some of the people panicking about their furry friend – who’s been less interesting since they grew out of being a cute kitten anyway – went to the pub on the 4th of July.
In short, this is barely a thing, don’t be an idiot about it. [BBC]