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Michigan records first case of COVID-19 in a cat

So far, officials say there have been more than 250 confirmed COVID cases in animals throughout the US, including 99 cats since the start of the pandemic.

LANSING, Mich — Michigan has identified the first case of COVID-19 in a domestic shorthair cat in the central part of the state. 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed the case from Ingham County Tuesday.  

Officials said the cat's owners became ill with COVID-19 about a week before their cat got sick. After the cat started sneezing, the animal was tested. 

The cat has since recovered. 

“Given the other reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 being found in pets throughout the world, this detection is not unexpected,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “The cases in animals generally have involved direct contact with an owner or caretaker who was ill or tested positive for COVID-19.” 

There is no evidence suggesting animals are playing a role in transmission to humans, but health officials said humans can help their pets by getting vaccinated. 

An additional step to protect your pets from the virus is to avoid direct contact with animals—including kissing them, snuggling them, having them sleep in an ill person’s bed, and sharing food with an ill person. 

If possible, another member of the household who is not sick should care for pets. If people with COVID-19 must care for a pet, you should wear a mask as well as wash their hands before and after interacting with them.

Signs of COVID in animals can include fever, sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you think your pet is sick with the virus or if you have concerns about your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian. 

Testing is recommended in some circumstances, including for animals with recent exposure to a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. 

You can visit the CDC's Animals and COVID-19 and the United States Department of Agriculture’s SARS-CoV-2 in Animals in the United States websites for more recommendations.

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