Can I “catch” the virus that causes COVID-19 from my pets/animals?

There is no evidence to date that humans have “caught” COVID-19 from their pets.

Can my cat or dog “catch” the COVID virus from me if I get infected?

This seems very rare, but there are reports of pets (2 dogs and 5 cats) that lived with COVID-19 affected people and that later showed evidence of having the virus or having antibodies against the virus. You should wash your hands before and after each interaction, use a cloth facemask, and don’t share food, kiss, or hug them.

I’m confused, how can pets have evidence of the virus but no evidence they have infected their owners.

Good point- that is a bit confusing. Here’s how that can happen. When we are infected with a virus, the virus replicates in us. The virus can be readily detected in the blood and excreta of infective individuals. However, to transmit the virus to someone or something else, the virus must be shed. This means the virus multiplies and is shed usually from the nose and mouth or through feces. This is why we cover our cough and wear masks. Not all infections lead to virus shedding.To date we have no studies that show that naturally exposed cats, dogs, or ferrets have gone on to shed the virus.

Can my pets “catch” the virus that causes COVID-19 from other pets?

There is evidence that cats can catch COVID-19 from other cats. It is only a small amount of evidence at this point. The largest study we have only involved 102 cats from Wuhan China--of the 102 only 11 had antibodies to COVID-19. None had evidence of the virus, so they were probably infected some time ago. In that study we also don’t know how the cats became infected, perhaps they were infected from humans, or maybe cat-to-cat transmission does occur. We need to wait for more data.

Can my pets get sick from COVID-19 ?

At this time, we don’t know because COVID-19 is too new. However, if pets did get sick we would expect them to have signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, or respiratory problems like trouble breathing. If you are concerned about your pet, you should do what you would usually do. Isolate them and contact your veterinarian.