Owners warned not to kiss pets after first cat infected with coronavirus in UK

Owners warned not to kiss pets after first cat infected with coronavirus in UK

  • Siamese cat is thought to have caught virus from its owners

A female Siamese cat has become the first animal in the UK to catch coronavirus, prompting a warning to owners not to kiss their pets or share food with them.

The cat from southern England is believed to have caught the virus from their owner in May. It was initially diagnosed with feline herpes by a private vet. But samples from the cat tested positive for Sars-Cov-2 in June as part of a coronavirus screening programme for hundreds of cats at Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.

Follow-up samples tested at the Animal Plant Health Laboratory in Weybridge last week confirmed the cat was also infected with Covid-19.

The six-year-old cat experienced only mild symptoms including shortness of breath and nasal discharge and has since recovered. But Margaret Hosie, professor of comparative virology at Glasgow University, who leads the screening programme, advised cat owners to “observe very careful hygiene”.