ST. PAUL, Minn. – A pet cat in Carver County has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.
The cat tested positive seven days after its owner was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. A dog in the house remains healthy. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health and Minnesota Department of Health recommended the cat remain isolated at home for 14 days following the positive test results.
“At this time, there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading COVID-19 to people or other animals” says State Veterinarian, Dr. Beth Thompson. “It’s always important to isolate ill pets from healthy people and pets when possible, just as ill people should be isolated from healthy people and pets. If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian.”
The cat arrived at the veterinary clinic with a 105 degree temperature and symptoms consistent with upper respiratory illness. State officials say the vet chose to collect a sample for testing based on the symptoms and the fact that the owner was confirmed to have COVID-19. All clinic staff reported wearing personal protective equipment including face masks when interacting with the owner and handling the cat to limit any potential spread of the virus.
This is the first confirmed animal detection in Minnesota but it’s not the first in the U.S. The USDA announced cases of infection in April in two pet cats in New York. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.