Two pet cats contract coronavirus

Those nine lives might come in handy.

Two pet cats in New York state in the US have tested positive for the coronavirus, in the first diagnoses of domestic animals on American soil, a report said this week.

It's believed that the cats contracted the illness from their owners or other humans that crossed their paths according to officials from the US Department of Agriculture and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention told the Associated Press.

The agencies said that the cats live in different parts of the state, but did not identify the specific areas.

The two felines are suffering respiratory symptoms but are expected to make full recoveries.

While these cases mark the first apparent human-to-animal coronavirus transmissions in the US, there remains no evidence that the disease can go the other way.

"We don't want people to panic. We don't want people to be afraid of pets," Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh from the CDC said. "There's no evidence that pets are playing a role in spreading this disease to people."

Still, the agency recommended that for the time being people keep their pets at home to protect them from infection.

Additionally, people with COVID-19 should try to avoid contact with their pets as much as possible, and take precautions such as wearing a face covering when tending to them.

In extreme cases, veterinarians can test animals for the bug, using kits distinct from the ones meant for humans that have been in such short supply, Dr Behravesh said.

Earlier this month, more than a half-dozen tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for coronavirus.

It's believed that, like their smaller, domesticated cousins, they caught the contagion from one of their caretakers.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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