Merivale Cat Hospital
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The Cat Hospitals: Ottawa, ON
What greater gift than the love of a cat? ​Charles Dickens​​

Novel Coronavirus and Your Cat

Updated March 16, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone's mind. In addition to concerns about your own health and that of your family and friends, you may have questions about your cat. We'll do our best to help.
Please read about our new appointment guidelines to keep everyone safe.
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect humans and animals. There are many types of human coronavirus - most cause only mild cold-like symptoms and are highly contagious (like the common cold). Cats have their own coronavirus that sometimes causes feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Currently, there is no evidence that the cat coronavirus can infect people and vice versa.
What sources should I trust for information about COVID-19?
We are keeping up to date by checking trusted experts. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and unnecessary fear online and in the media. Here are the websites that we trust and recommend:
What animal did COVID-19 come from?
Current research suggests that COVID-19 originated in a bat species found in a certain area of China. Other human coronavirus outbreaks have also originated in animals such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). No human coronaviruses have come from cats or dogs.

Can cats become infected with COVID-19?
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can infect cats. One dog in Hong Kong has tested positive for COVID-19 but the dog is healthy and a low level of virus was found. There is no evidence the dog has spread infection to people. Many viruses and bacteria other than COVID-19 cause symptoms like sneezing and coughing in people and animals. If your cat develops symptoms of respiratory disease, please call for an appointment.

If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, how do I protect my cat?
While there is no evidence that you could transmit COVID-19 to your cat, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending caution. They suggest you should restrict contact with your pets if you are confirmed to have COVID-19. If you must care for your cat while you are sick, they recommend washing your hands before and after contact with your cat, and wearing a face mask.

What are Bytown and Merivale Cat Hospitals doing to protect staff and clients against COVID-19?
We are taking the precautions recommended by public health authorities. For example, we have increased the frequency of disinfection of surfaces that people commonly touch, such as countertops, phones, computer keyboards, door knobs, handles, sinks, desks, and much more. Our staff will be washing their hands even more often than they usually do (which is a lot!).  We hope you'll forgive us if we don't shake your hand. Following the recommendations of public health authorities, you will not see us wearing face masks (unless we are in surgery). We have also made sure our staff know the symptoms of COVID-19 infection and instructed them to stay home and follow the recommendations of Ottawa Public Health if they become ill with any respiratory symptoms. Any employee who has been outside Canada in the last 2 weeks is isolating at home according to recommendations.
If you have any questions or concerns about your cat, please contact us. 
And remember to wash your hands!