HONG KONG (Reuters) – A pet cat has tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong after its owner was confirmed with having the virus, the city’s Agricultural and Fisheries department said, cautioning that the animal has not shown any signs of the disease.
In a notice late on Tuesday, the department said there is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and owners should not abandon their pets.
The World Health Organization also states on their website that there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19.
The cat is the third animal to test positive in Hong Kong, following earlier cases in which two dogs tested weak positive or positive during repeated tests for the virus. Authorities said the cat will continue to be monitored and examined.
Samples collected from the cat’s mouth, nose and rectum tested positive for the virus after it was sent to quarantine on March 30.
There has only been one other reported case of coronavirus in a cat, in Belgium, which is believed to have become infected from its owner, according to a statement from the Hong Kong Veterinary Association.
The Veterinary Association said the most likely way pets would be exposed to the virus is from their owners or other people they come into contact with, and the cases were no cause for alarm.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)