There is no evidence that people can transmit coronavirus to animals or animals to people, but “out of an abundance of caution,” infected individuals should avoid contact with their pets until they have recovered, San Luis Obispo Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson said. 

There have been a handful of situations where a pet allegedly caught coronavirus from their owner, Anderson said. In Belgium, a cat showed coronavirus related symptoms a week after their owner became infected with the virus, and traces of COVID-19 were found in the cat’s feces, according to The Brussels Times.    

However, it is rare for people to infect their pets, Anderson said. 

If a pet owner is sick, they should wash their hands before and after they feed and interact with their pets, Anderson said. 

Pet owners should assemble a disaster kit for their pets in case they are hospitalized, Anderson said. The kit should include two weeks worth of supplies for their pet – which can include food, cat litter and a litter box, a leash, toys and any other necessary items, he said.

In addition, pet owners should reach out to a neighbor, friend or local shelter to make a plan to care for their pet if they are hospitalized, Anderson said. 

People who are not showing coronavirus symptoms are safe to hug their pets, Anderson said.

“Many of us are experiencing stress and social isolation,” Anderson said. “This is a really great time to spend low effort time with our pets and reinforce that bond.” 

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