Government advice about COVID-19 is constantly being reviewed. To find out the restrictions in your local area, click here
There is limited evidence to suggest the transmission of COVID-19 from people to cats may be possible. This implies that transmission from humans to cats is extremely rare. Therefore, it is important that owners should not worry unnecessarily.
As a precaution, it is advised that owners should:
Those infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) should be particularly mindful by minimising contact.
Further information about COVID-19 and animals can be found here.
There is currently no evidence that cats can transmit COVID-19 to humans and so owners should not worry unnecessarily.
However, as it is known that the virus can survive on surfaces such as door handles, it may be possible, despite the lack of evidence, for the virus to survive in a similar way on a cat’s fur.
You may want to wipe your cat down with a damp cloth if they are coming into contact with someone else who is not from your household. Do not use any disinfectant wipes or disinfectants (such as Dettol) on your cat. These contain ingredients and chemicals toxic to cats if ingested. There is no evidence to show you need to wash your cat to control the spread of COVID-19
It is a common, contagious virus that can be found in the faeces of cats. It is more common in multi-cat households and does not affect other animals or people. To find out more about Feline Coronavirus, read our essential guide below.Find out more about Feline Coronavirus (FCov)
If you’ve been diagnosed with, are suspected of having or are displaying characteristic symptoms of COVID-19, it is advisable to minimise the amount of time your cat spends outdoors unsupervised. If possible, keep your cat indoors if they are happy to be kept indoors. Ensuring your cat continues to get daily activity is important for their wellbeing. Try the following:
If you’re currently well but in the extremely vulnerable category set out by government – e.g: over the age of 70, have an underlying health condition or are in precautionary self-isolation, we’d recommend the same measures as for those with suspected COVID-19.
If you’re currently well and not in the vulnerable category there is no reason to restrict your cat’s outdoor access. However, don’t forget to maintain good hygiene, washing your hands with soap and hot water after handling your cat. Try to keep close interactions with your cat, such as petting, to a minimum if you can.
We advise contacting your local vet to discuss whether they are carrying out routine neutering.
Any pregnancy in a cat always has an associated risk of complications and as access to veterinary care is limited at the moment, we’d advise that you avoid your cat getting pregnant (or for male cats, making another cat pregnant). If you have a new cat or kitten that hasn't been neutered, we’d advise keeping them indoors to avoid the possibility of them having kittens at this time. Remember – a female cat can get pregnant from four months of age.
If you have a male and female cat in your household and they are not neutered, you should keep them separated. Remember: this also applies to cats that are related, eg brother and sister.
If you’re breeding kittens for commercial sale or for show, consideration should be given as to how the welfare of the cat and her kittens can be maintained while COVID-19 measures are in place e.g: if vets have limited capacity to do anything other than urgent treatment and access to routine treatment for cats and kittens is not readily available.
Government guidance for those selling or rehoming a pet cat can be found here.
More information can be found on the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) websiteFind out more about buying a kitten online during COVID-19
If your cat is already pregnant, or becomes pregnant with kittens by accident, we’d advise you to call your vet for advice on what services they can offer, such as vaccinations, neutering and flea and worming treatments, at this time. Unfortunately, Cats Protection is only able to take a small number of cats as emergency cases at the moment. We’d recommend you do everything you can to protect against accidental litters being born at this time.
If you're seeking to rehome your pregnant cat and/or kittens, call Cats Protection for advice on 03000 12 12 12.Read our advice on what to do if your cat is pregnant
Keeping a cat that usually goes outdoors confined indoors can be stressful and frustrating for the cat. It’s important to ensure your cat continues to get daily activity to help both their mental and physical wellbeing. The following tips will allow them to adjust to their temporary indoor life.
If you think your cat needs veterinary care you should call the practice for further advice in the first instance. Do not take your pet to the surgery unless your vet instructs you to.
If you are self-isolating you will not be able to go to the vet with your cat for emergency treatment. Phone the vet for advice and if the vet agrees to treat your cat, you'll need to arrange for someone else to transport your cat to the vet for you. In this case, we’d recommend the following tips:
Government advice on travel and entering other households is under constant review. We advise you check government guidance for where you live and for where the other person’s cat lives.
If you do look after someone else’s cat you should remain socially distanced from anyone who is not in your household. We’d advise maintaining good hygiene levels, washing your hands before and after you have been in contact with the cat.
More information can be found on the government website.
Because of the possibility of COVID-19 transferring from an infected person (whether or not they have symptoms) to the fur of a cat, and because so little is known about how long the virus might survive, we’d advise against taking someone else’s cat into your home. We would also advise against going into their home to look after the cat.
If they are unwell and unable to look after their cat then you could contact the Local Authority who have a duty of care to provide emergency care in these situations.Read the government advice
Because of the possibility of COVID-19 transferring from an infected person to the fur of a cat and because so little is known about how long the virus might survive on the fur we advise against stroking or picking up strange cats (eg in the street).
If a paper collar needs to be fitted to a stray cat, it’s important to minimise contact with the cat as much as possible and maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after handling the cat.
We also advise against allowing other people’s cats, stray or ‘community cats’ into your house. We know that some cats do like to live in several households and ‘visit’ but not allowing them in during the current crisis will minimise any risks of cats helping to spread COVID-19.
Government advice on travel is under constant review and many areas are subject to local restrictions on movement. We advise you check government guidance for where you live and for where the feral cats reside.
With the current restrictions on travel, any feeding of community, stray or feral colonies of cats might be incorporated into a daily walk for exercise if the cats live locally. If the cats are on your own land, eg they come into your garden, feeding can continue. In both cases take care to avoid any contact with the cats, such as stroking. In all cases ensure good hygiene, particularly washing your hands with soap and hot water.
Information is correct as of 12 April 2021. For up to date information on coronavirus, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus