Categories: viruses

How do I know if my cat has Covid-19?

See a vet and in addition my advice is that, if you want to do something, you could check your cat’s temperature and confirm that he or she has a persistent cough (see link below). She may also have a reduced appetite. The three combined may – and I stress may – indicate a Covid-19 infection but it also needs to be stressed very strongly that the current evidence informs us that this infection is extremely rare in domestic cats, as far the experts know. Therefore the human symptoms of Covid-19 namely a persistent cough, a temperature and a loss of sense of smell and taste may not be caused by the Covid-19 virus if present in a cat. A veterinarian must be involved to diagnose accurately. Don’t do anything until a vet has seen your cat, please.

Taking mouth and nose swabs from tigers at Miami Zoo to test for Covid-19. Screenshot.

Tigers Bronx Zoo, NYC

Not very long ago there was a report of tigers becoming infected with Covid 19 at Bronx zoo. The tigers reportedly exhibited the classic symptoms of Covid-19. However, this wasn’t clear from the reports and in any case the symptoms, as I understand it, were relatively mild. Therefore we can’t look for symptoms in cats due to Covid-19 which are similar to those in humans. Therefore, if a cat owner suspects that their cat may have Covid-19 then they should seek advice from their veterinarian as soon as possible who will do a test. The Bronx zoo tigers were tested and the photographs on this page show how it was done. You can see it is very similar to how it is done for humans.

Taking mouth and nose swabs from tigers at Miami Zoo to test for Covid-19. Screenshot.

Believed rarity of Covid-19 infections in cats

It has to be added that there have been exceptionally few cases of domestic cats contracting Covid-19 as far as the scientists and vets are aware (but they aren’t testing cats) and in those cases, as I recall, the symptoms were very mild. In addition, as I also recall, there have been no scientifically proven and confirmed examples of domestic cats passing the disease to humans. This is notwithstanding that humans can pass it to their cats. This is how the tigers at Bronx zoo contracted the disease, it is believed.

Recap

To recap, if you have suspicions about your cat being ill with Covid-19 you should discuss it with your veterinarian. Your cat might have a cough which is quite rare. There are various causes of a cough in cats (see link below). Your veterinarian is likely to diagnose one of the other causes rather than Covid-19. You cannot ask your cat whether they have lost their sense of smell and taste. However, a symptom might be a loss of appetite because we know that domestic cats rely tremendously upon their sense of smell to like or dislike food that is placed before them.

Take temperature

You can take your cat’s temperature which I think is quite a useful test to do at home. This in fact may be the most useful diagnostic tool that a cat owner can conduct at home before consulting with a veterinarian. Fortunately, I have a page on that task on my website which you can access by clicking on the following link.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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