As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities—and in some areas is found to be mutating and spreading faster—Alley Cat Allies remains committed to providing you the most up-to-date information on how the pandemic affects cats and kittens.
Now in the new year, with new developments every day in the crisis including the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccines, we want to make you aware of the facts as they stand.
Our goal is to bring you peace of mind through truth and common-sense guidelines, and to help you protect your cats while upholding pandemic safety.
With this in mind, we’re continually updating our online COVID-19 resources. Please check them out and share them with friends and family who are worried about their cats, or animal professionals in your life.
- COVID-19 Guide: You & Your Pet Cat
- COVID-19 Guide: Community Cat Caregivers
- Feeding Community Cats During COVID-19
- COVID-19 Protocols for Animal Shelters
- COVID-19 Protocols for Veterinarians
- COVID-19 Guide: Safety Tips and Precautions for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)
- Non-surgical Contraception—A Potential Lifesaver During COVID-19
Top 2 Take Away Points
1) There is STILL No Evidence Cats Can Pass COVID-19 to Humans
That is the single most important take away message we have for you on COVID-19 and cats.
This was true when there were only 1,000 COVID-19 cases and it remains true now, even as global cases have skyrocketed into the tens of millions. The CDC states “there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people.”
We want to emphasize this because it is critical information for anyone who is concerned about cats: For all the millions of cats and kittens who share our homes or whom we feed outdoors in our communities, there has not been one confirmed case of cat-to-human COVID-19 transmission.
To be clear, there is no need to feel unsafe feeding community cats, who also have a natural tendency to social distance, or to be wary of the cat in your home. No major health organization has found any evidence that cats can give you COVID-19.
2) For Cats, COVID-19 is Very Rare and Almost Always Mild
According to the CDC, “a small number of pet cats and dogs have been reported to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in several countries, including the United States. Most of these pets became sick after contact with people with COVID-19.”
To give you a better idea of just how small that “small number” is, the USDA reported only 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in cats in the U.S. by the end of 2020. Compare that to the more than 21 million cases in people in the U.S. at that same time.
The difference is stark and proves an important point: COVID-19 is a human disease that almost exclusively affects humans and spreads predominantly from humans to other humans. Cats are not a virus risk, nor are they significantly AT risk.
And happily, again according to the CDC, of those few cats who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, “most only had mild illness and fully recovered.”
So while people can infect cats, all evidence suggests it is very, very rare and luckily almost never life-threatening for cats.
To learn more, please check out the resources listed above.