Other coronaviruses cause diseases that can be transmitted to humans in animals, but this is rare. However, there are isolated cases outside of the United States where several pets have tested positive for COVID-19 after long contact with humans. There is also the case of 2 cats in two different states in New York State, who contracted COVID-19 transmitted by their respective owners. These 2 cats showed mild symptoms. In addition, several tigers at a New York zoo who developed symptomatic respiratory illness, including a cough, tested positive for COVID-19.
A team of Chinese researchers have published an online study showing that domestic cats can be experimentally infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Cats receiving a high dose of the virus could also infect cats in nearby cages, suggesting aerosol transmission. It is not clear whether cats can act as a reservoir and host for the virus, or transmit it to humans, but the risk of them being a source of infection is obviously low. This team of researchers also tried to infect ferrets, dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks. The virus replicated poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks, but it did replicate efficiently in ferrets and cats.
It is important to note that there is no evidence to date of infection of the COVID-19 virus in humans from domestic animals. However, until it becomes clearer, it is recommended that pets do not come into contact with humans or other animals outdoors. Patients infected with COVID-19 should limit contact with their pets. They should also wash their hands before and after each contact, as well as their families.