Black kitten with toy

Coronavirus (Covid-19) and cats

It is rare for animals to catch Covid-19. If they do contract the virus, they often only show mild symptoms and are better within a few days.

There is evidence that infected people can pass Covid-19 to cats. As a precaution, you should:

  • wash your hands with soap before and after any contact with your cat, its food and bedding
  • avoid sharing food with your cat
  • avoid contact such as kissing or cuddling if you have Covid-19

Your pet’s fur can act as a carrier for Covid-19 like other surfaces. But there is no evidence that washing your cat controls the spread of the virus and you must only use products that are made for pets if you do decide to wash them.

What is Covid-19?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals.

Covid-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that, like seven other strains throughout history, is thought to have made the jump from animals to humans.

Some common human symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Find out more on the NHS website.

Does my cat need to be vaccinated against Covid-19?

Although there have been media reports of a Covid-19 vaccine for animals, this is not currently available. It also is not clear whether this would significantly stop the spread of coronavirus in the community.

Instead, you should follow good hygiene routines including washing your hands before and after any contact with your pet, their food and bedding.

How to protect your cat from Covid-19

If you have Covid-19, then ideally you should restrict contact with pets and other animals ie no kissing, cuddling or stroking.

If you have sole responsibility of your cat with no help, then wash your hands before and after touching them.

What if I think my cat has Covid-19?

If you’re concerned about your cat because they have respiratory or digestive problems or a temperature, you should contact your vet who will decide if they need any treatment.

Can I take my cat to the vet if I have Covid-19?

If you have Covid-19 and your cat needs urgent care always contact your vet by telephone first. They may be able to re-arrange your appointment or be happy for someone else to bring them in for any examinations or treatment.

Page details


• 16 December 2022

Next review

• 15 December 2025

Approved by
Róisín Bolger

Veterinary Surgeon MRCVS