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Yes, your pets can catch the coronavirus

The CDC just changed its guidelines after two cats in New York tested positive.
Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 is a new virus, and there is still a lot the experts don’t know about it. That’s why guidance from the Centers for Disease Control keeps changing.

The CDC just issued new information about the importance of protecting your pets from the coronavirus. However, the agency admits there isn’t a lot of information to go on.

The United States Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday two cats in New York tested positive for COVID-19. They’re the first pets in the U.S. with confirmed cases, they both had mild respiratory issues and they’re expected to make a full recovery. There are also reports of dogs getting sick.

RELATED: Two pet cats in New York state test positive for coronavirus

But here’s what’s most concerning: The USDA says the cats live in separate areas of the state, and it’s not clear how they got infected. Public health leaders say one cat lives in a home with an infected person. The other does not.

And domesticated animals aren’t the only ones at risk.

The Bronx Zoo confirmed eight of its big cats have tested positive for the coronavirus – four tigers and three lions.

RELATED: 7 other Bronx Zoo big cats test positive for coronavirus

This is what the CDC is recommending:

  • Treat pets like human family members, meaning they shouldn’t be exposed to strangers or any people in the home who are infected
  • Keep cats indoors, when possible, to keep them from interacting with other animals and people
  • Walk dogs on a leash and stay six feet away from others
  • Avoid dog parks and other public places where people and pets gather

The CDC says more studies are needed to figure out if animals can spread COVID-19 to humans.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: A tiger caught coronavirus. Can your cat get infected?

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