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First case of a Covid-infected cat reported in Switzerland

Covid-19 transmission from humans to cats is rare but cannot be ruled out, which is why Swiss veterinary affairs encourages those infected with the coronavirus to keep a healthy distance from their furry creatures. © Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

For the first time in Switzerland a cat has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Cats, like dogs, are however not believed to play a major role in the spread of the virus.

According to the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs (BLV)External link, the case was reported by the veterinary medicine laboratory at the University of Zurich. The cat had been tested in the context of a research project and came from a household with a person who had also tested positive.

Other isolated cases of coronavirus infections in pets have been reported in other countries. Almost all the infected pets came from households with individuals who tested positive for Covid-19.

In a press release, the BLV said that it believes transmission from humans to cats is rare but cannot be ruled out. It doesn’t believe regular testing for cats is necessary. Infected cats do not show any symptoms or if they do, they are usually mild.

There is also no evidence that cats and dogs pose a risk of infection for humans, the office said.

However, it stressed that it’s important for infected persons to observe the hygiene rules, even with cats. This includes no close contact between animals and humans such as licking of the face and letting the animal sleep in the owner’s bed. It is also important to thoroughly clean feeding bowls.

It advises against disinfecting animals or putting a mask on them – “for the sake of animal welfare”.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR