Statement on Community Cats and COVID-19 from Shelter Medicine Groups

Community cats and COVID-19

There is no indication that community cats play a role in the spread of this human disease. Community cat caregivers should apply the same precautions as are recommended for care of pets.

  • Follow all safety and physical distancing guidelines in the course of caring for cats as in all activities.
  • Only one person should be present to care for the cats at a time.
  • Practice hand hygiene before and after caring for cats.
  • Follow recommendations for wearing masks when in public places.
  • Persons who are sick or under medical care or quarantine for COVID-19 should stay at home and avoid close contact with cats; if possible, another caregiver should provide care for cats until recovered.
  • If TNR activities are occurring, practices should follow social distancing guidelines (within clinic, during transport, and during collection and release).
  • Community cats should remain in their community and not be relocated or intermixed with new groups at this time except as necessary for animal or public safety (e.g., cat has been admitted to a shelter and cannot be returned to the location of origin due to an exigent risk).
  • When seeking medical care, all precautions should be made as for pet animals. For example, if cats are displaying signs of respiratory illness (nasal discharge, sneezing, ocular discharge, etc.) or are known to have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive caregiver within the last 14 days, the veterinary clinic should be called and informed prior to arrival.
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