Pets a vector? Belgian cat contracts coronavirus

“Animals are not vectors of the epidemic, so there is no reason to abandon your animal,” says Belgium’s National Council for Animal Protection.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

A cat in Belgium has caught the coronavirus, reports The Brussels Times.

According to the report, the cat exhibited signs of coronavirus a week after its owner contracted the deadly disease.

“The cat had diarrhea, kept vomiting and had breathing difficulties. The researchers found the virus in the cat’s feces,” virologist Steven Van Gucht told the Belgian newspaper.

There is no indication that the coronavirus normally transmits between humans and animals, said Van Gucht.

“We want to stress that this is an isolated case. There are no indications that this is common. The risk of animal-to-human transmission is very small,” he said.

Belgium’s National Council for Animal Protection (CNPA) offered the same opinion, saying, “Animals are not vectors of the epidemic, so there is no reason to abandon your animal.”

Nevertheless, Belgium’s Federal Food Agency recommends coronavirus patients to take the necessary “hygienic measures,” such as proper handwashing, when touching their pets.

This is not the first time an animal has caught coronavirus.

Fox News reported a 17-year-old Pomeranian died from the disease after catching it from its Chinese owner earlier this month, and a German Shepherd in Hong Kong contracted the virus from its owner but is only showing mild symptoms.

BBC reported England’s animal shelters have been receiving numerous requests by cat owners to find new homes for their pets due to fears an infected coronavirus sufferer might have handled their cats.