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Cats with coronavirus: U.S. records first cases of pets contracting COVID-19

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By Pauline Bock with AFP
A cat at the clinic at the San Diego Humane Society on April 21, 2020
A cat at the clinic at the San Diego Humane Society on April 21, 2020   -   Copyright  ARIANA DREHSLER
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The U.S. health authorities have confirmed that two domestic cats have tested positive for the coronavirus, the first household pets to have contracted the virus.

In a statement on its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the animals lived in different areas of New York state, the U.S. epicentre of the virus.

It said that the cats were suffering from respiratory issues but were expected to make a full recovery.

In the first case, the CDC said that no-one in the cat's household had coronavirus, but the animal could have contracted it either from a mildly-ill or asymptomatic person in the home, or through contact with an infected person outside.

In the second case, the cat's owner tested positive for COVID-19 but another cat in the household did not.

CDC said that whole there was "no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States", pet owners should keep animals indoors as much as possible.

Dogs should be kept on a leash at least six feet from people and other animals, it said.

Outside the U.S., there have been cases of animals contracting the virus, including in Belgium, Hong Kong and Wuhan.