NEW YORK -- Two cats living in separate areas of New York state are the first pets in the United States to test positive for COVID-19.
The felines had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a statement, the agencies said a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No humans in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19.
The agencies said 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.
Samples from the second cat were taken after it's owner tested positive for COVID-19 and then the animal showed signs of respiratory illness. Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness.
This comes weeks after a tiger at New York City's Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19.
The tiger, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger named Nadia, developed a dry cough and a decrease in appetite. The zoo said the cats were infected by a person caring for them who had COVID-19 but was asymptomatic or had not yet developed symptoms.
The CDC said there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States, yet further studies are needed.
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.