Two cats from New York state are the first pets in the United States to have tested positive for the virus that is causing the worldwide pandemic, the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control announced Wednesday.
The cats, from different parts of the state, are showing only mild symptoms and are expected to be fine. Testing positive does not mean the cats have the same illness that people have, and doesn’t mean that the cats can pass on the illness to people. Veterinarians took samples from both cats that were tested at a private lab, then confirmed at a national veterinary lab. The owners brought both cats to veterinarians because they showed symptoms of a respiratory infection. One owner had tested positive for the virus. No human in the other cat’s household tested positive.
The Agriculture Department and the C.D.C. emphasized that “there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States.” The Agriculture Department will post any confirmed tests of animals with SARS-CoV-2 on its website. It does not recommend routine testing for pets.