Second Chance Medical Director Dr. Ashely Raymond Answers This Frequently Asked Question

Pet owners have been asking us about the potential transmission of infectious disease leading to upper respiratory tract infection(s) and/or the transmission of COVID-19 between domestic cats and humans. Although there have been very rare reports of pets testing positive for COVID-19, it is important to remember that there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the disease at this time. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) “there is no compelling evidence to date that any domestic animal, including cats, dogs, and ferrets, readily transmits SARS-CoV-2 to other animals, including humans, under natural conditions.

The global number of naturally infected animals is far, far less than the number of people with COVID-19, indicating that animals, including pets, are not a driver of the COVID-19 pandemic—the pandemic continues to be driven by human-to-human transmission.”

In addition, and fortunately for us, the viruses and organisms that can cause upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in cats are not transmissible to humans. It is very common for cats in the shelter environment or who have been recently adopted to exhibit symptoms of URIs due to increased stress and most often is associated with feline herpesvirus flare ups.

If you suspect your cat is having symptoms of a URI, which can include sneezing, runny nose, nasal or ocular discharge, fever, decreased appetite, or lethargy please contact your veterinarian with any concerns you may have.

If you would like further information about COVID-19 and animals please refer to the AVMA at