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london cat stuck at home coronavirus
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Should I keep my cat indoors during the coronavirus crisis?

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London is full of feline fanatics and in the last few weeks, there have been lots of conflicting reports about how best to care for our furry pals during the global pandemic, and whether they are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 

Despite recent reports that cat owners should keep their pets indoors to prevent the spread of the virus, the British Veterinary Association has confirmed that cats should only be kept indoors under particular circumstances. 

BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said in a statement: ‘We are not advising that all cats are kept indoors. Only cats from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.’ 

Battersea Cats and Dogs Home has said that while the risk of human-to-animal infection is extremely small, ‘the virus could be passed from person to person via surfaces such as a fur, collar and lead’. It has advised that pet owners to ‘wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching your dog or cat, or their food, toys or bedding’ and  ‘avoid kissing your dog or cat, or being licked by them, or sharing food with them’. 

Cats Protection has also advised pet owners infected with coronavirus to be ‘particularly mindful’ and minimise contact with their animals.

In more reassuring news, despite suggestions cats may be more susceptible to the virus following a cat in Belgium showing Covid-19 symptoms and a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City testing positive, there is zero evidence so far that pets can transmit the virus to humans. 

Writing in The ConversationDr Sarah Caddy, a veterinarian and research fellow at the University of Cambridge, said a large veterinary lab based in the US had recently tested thousands of cat and dog samples for Covid-19 and found no positive cases. She added: ‘Given that as of March 30 there are over 720,000 human cases worldwide, it is safe to assume that if the virus readily caused disease in pets we would know by now.’ Phew! Still, no kissing for now.

Animal-obsessed? Help Battersea Park Children’s Zoo care for its critters.

Find more ways to support your community in our guide: How to help (and get help) in London.

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