A cat in a Carver County home has tested positive for the coronavirus, a first in Minnesota involving an animal, state officials announced Tuesday.
The detection in the cat of the virus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease occurred seven days after its owner was confirmed to also be infected, according to the state Board of Animal Health. A dog in the household has remained healthy, the agency said.
The board and the Minnesota Department of Health have recommended the cat remain isolated at home for 14 days following the positive result. Officials did not disclose the identity of the household or its location in the west metro county.
A veterinarian reported that the cat was seen at a clinic with a temperature of 105 degrees and symptoms consistent with upper respiratory illness. Those indicators, plus the owner having tested positive, prompted the veterinarian to test the cat for coronavirus.
“At this time, there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading COVID-19 to people or other animals,” state veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson said in a statement.
Despite that assurance, Thompson went on to say “it’s always important to isolate ill pets from healthy people and pets when possible, just as ill people should be isolated from healthy people and pets. If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian.”
The case joins a handful of others around the country, state health officials said. Federal officials announced in April that two pet cats in New York tested positive for the virus.
The CDC has been advising owners to avoid letting pets interact with people or animals outside their own households. That means keeping cats indoors if possible and walking dogs on a leash, and staying at least 6 feet from other animals or people. It’s best to avoid dog parks and other public places where many people and dogs gather.