A pet cat has tested positive in England for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the government says in the first confirmed case of an animal being infected with the virus in the UK.
The British environment ministry said “all available evidence” suggested the cat had contracted the coronavirus from its owners, who had both tested positive for COVID-19.
Both the cat and the humans made a full recovery and there was no transmission to any other animals or people in the household, the ministry said without identifying the individuals involved.
“This is the first case of a domestic cat testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK but should not be a cause for alarm,” said Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England.
“The investigation into this case suggests that the infection was spread from humans to animal, and not the other way round,” Doyle added.
The government said the infection was confirmed in lab tests on Wednesday, adding there was no evidence that cats could transmit the virus to humans.
The World Health Organisatio has said cats are the most susceptible animal species to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and are able to transmit it to other cats.