A pet cat has become the first animal to test positive for coronavirus in the UK. The only details known about the feline are that it lives in England and was tested at a laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey, last week, on 22 July.
The government said there is no evidence the cat transmitted the virus to its owners or that any other domestic pets are able to, either.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss explained: “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for COVID-19 has been detected in a pet cat in England.
This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within in a few days.
There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update.
Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said the finding should not be a cause for alarm.
In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals, she added.