Pets from New York became the first pets in the nation to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

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On Wednesday, the CDC and the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in two pet cats.

These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the CDC.

The cats live in two separate areas of New York State.

A veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19. The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home, officials believe.

Samples from the second cat were taken after it showed signs of the respiratory illness. The owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat showing signs.

Both had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to make a full recovery, officials say. Another cat from the second household has shown no signs of illness, according to the CDC.

SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in a few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19.

At this time, the CDC isn't recommending routine testing of animals. Should other animals be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States the USDA will post the findings. State animal health and public health officials will take the lead in making determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2.

Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence at this time that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States, officials say. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including pets, could be affected.

Until more is known the CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.
  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

Officials note animal testing does not reduce the availability of tests for humans.

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