First Reported Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Companion Animals

New York, March-April 2020

Alexandra Newman DVM; David Smith, DVM; Ria R. Ghai, PhD; Ryan M. Wallace, DVM; Mia Kim Torchetti, DVM, PhD; Christina Loiacono, DVM, PhD; Laura S. Murrell, MA; Ann Carpenter, DVM; Scott Moroff, VMD; Jane A. Rooney DVM; Casey Barton Behravesh, DVM, DrPH


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2020;69(23):710-713. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


On April 22, CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported cases of two domestic cats with confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These are the first reported companion animals (including pets and service animals) with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States, and among the first findings of SARS-CoV-2 symptomatic companion animals reported worldwide. These feline cases originated from separate households and were epidemiologically linked to suspected or confirmed human COVID-19 cases in their respective households. Notification of presumptive positive animal test results triggered a One Health* investigation by state and federal partners, who determined that no further transmission events to other animals or persons had occurred. Both cats fully recovered. Although there is currently no evidence that animals play a substantial role in spreading COVID-19, CDC advises persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to restrict contact with animals during their illness and to monitor any animals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and separate them from other persons and animals at home.[1]

SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic coronavirus that likely originated in bats.[2] A small number of animals worldwide, including dogs, cats, zoo tigers and lions, and farmed mink, have been infected naturally with SARS-CoV-2, mostly through suspected human-to-animal transmission.[3] In addition, experimental studies in ferrets, golden Syrian hamsters, Egyptian fruit bats, and cats show that these species can transmit infection to cohoused animals of the same species.[4–7]