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8 Apr, 2020 18:10

No need for kitty quarantine: British vets refute coronavirus-related rumors as pet owners swamp pet advice site

No need for kitty quarantine: British vets refute coronavirus-related rumors as pet owners swamp pet advice site

As the coronavirus toll continues to climb, pet owners are growing more concerned about their furry friends — particularly in the UK, where some reports prompted fears cats should be kept securely at home amid the outbreak.

The panic was prompted by a series of media reports, including a BBC interview with a British Veterinary Association (BVA) official, which implied that cat owners should keep their felines indoors during the pandemic.

The suggestion prompted British cat lovers to swarm the organization’s website to seek coronavirus advice — crashing it  briefly on Wednesday.

In an attempt to quell the panic, the BVA later stepped in and clarified its advice on cats. Felines, in fact, should stay inside — but only if they feel like doing so, or if their owners need to stay strictly isolated.

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“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,” BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said in a statement.

A handful of human-to-animal Covid-19 transmissions have been reported worldwide. All the affected pets, including cats and dogs, are believed to have contracted the disease from their owner. A cat in Belgium has shown the symptoms of the disease, while all the other afflicted animals appeared well despite testing positive for the coronavirus.

“It is very important that people don’t panic about their pets. There is no evidence that animals can pass the disease to humans,” the BVA chief stated.

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Still, keeping good hygiene is key in disease prevention, Dos Santos noted, and it’s important to thoroughly wash hands if your kitty likes to stroll outside.

The coronavirus pandemic has already infected more than 1,460,000 people worldwide and caused over 85,000 deaths. In the UK, the total number of registered cases has surpassed the 60,000 mark, while more than 7,000 people have succumbed to the disease.

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