How to Protect and Care for Your Cat if You Have COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has heightened concerns about how COVID-19 is transmitted to others. While we’re learning more about the human-to-human spread of the virus, many questions remain about its presence in humans’ interactions with beloved pets, including cats.

Generally speaking, if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2, as it’s alternately known), you’ll want to use the same common sense with your cat as you would with the general public. Here are a few guidelines for how to interact with and protect your cat.

Restrict contact with your cat. Most authorities believe—at this time—that the chances of you spreading COVID-19 and infecting your cat are extremely small. However, there’s still a lot about the coronavirus experts don’t conclusively know, and for that reason, an over-abundance of caution is never a bad thing. If you’re sick with COVID-19 take the same precautions with your cat as you do with humans: Don’t pet them, curl up with them, share their food or allow them to lick you.

Stay inside and keep your cat indoors. There is no evidence that humans can contract COVID-19 from cats. But again, new information is still being learned about coronavirus, and it’s best to err on the safe side and keep your cat indoors with you if you’re ill. Although the virus is known to spread via moisture and droplets, there remains a chance that your cat could carry the virus in its fur, making it a “fomite”: an infection-bearing object. Until more about this specific subject is known, consider your cat to be a potential carrier of the virus if you’re sick and keep them quarantined inside with yo

Wear a mask and wash your hands. If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 and live by yourself, most likely you’ll still have to take care of your cat’s feeding and care. In that case, take the same extra steps in personal hygiene as are being suggested with other humans. Wear a cloth face mask while feeding your cat, changing their litter box, or any other duties you need to take care of. After finishing those chores, wash your hands as thoroughly as you can.

Arrange for another household member to care for your cat. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention strongly suggests that, if you live with others, try to arrange for another family member or housemate to take over in your everyday duties to your cat while you’re sick. The more you can quarantine yourself and restrict contact, the safer you and your cat will be.