The British Veterinary Association (BVA) stressed today only cats in infected households or where people are self-isolating should be stopped from going out unless they have to go out.
The announcement followed a misleading report that all cats should be kept in.
BVA president Daniella Dos Santos said: “It’s incredibly important information and advice for the public is clear.
“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.
“There have been a tiny number of cases of Covid-19 in animals.
“In all cases, it is likely the transmission was human to animal.
“There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners.
“From the small number of cases it appears that dogs do not show symptoms, but cats can show clinical signs of the disease.
“It is also the case that animals can act as fomites, as the virus could be on their fur in the same way it is on other surfaces, such as tables and doorknobs.
“That’s why our main advice for pet owners continues to be to practise good hand hygiene.
“And, as a precaution, for pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating, we are recommending you keep your cat indoors if possible, during that time.
“It is very important people don’t panic about their pets.
“There is no evidence that animals can pass the disease to humans.”
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