Since the coronavirus outbreak began just a short time ago, it has caused people to panic. This not only applies to the resident of China, where the outbreak began, but also to people internationally as the virus has quickly spread to many locations across the globe. People in affected areas are taking any measures necessary to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, including staying indoors whenever possible and wearing masks when they are out in public. Now, there are even people taking measures to ensure the safety of their pets, says Fox News. It is cat owners who are taking the most precautions against their pets contracting the disease, and they have been giving their cats homemade face masks to wear when they are out and about. Photos of people’s cats wearing their masks have begun to appear on the Chinese microblogging and social media site.
Many of the masks are made from the traditional surgical masks. However, these are clearly too large for the small heads of a cat. Therefore, cat owners have been adapting the masks for their feline friends by cutting holes in the masks to accommodate the cat’s eyes, thus allowing them to see while protecting the rest of the cat’s face. This trend first began when The Sun reported that it had been announced by the National Health Commission in China that it was possible for this strain of the coronavirus to pass to cats and dogs. This set pet owners into a panic, and this is when the photographs of pets wearing protective face masks began to appear online. Although the news stated that cats and dogs could potentially become infected with the new strain of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, some authorities on the subject have disagreed. One organization that thinks it is unlikely that the virus will spread to domestic animals is the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
People have been referring to the coronavirus outbreak as though the coronavirus is a new thing. However, it is simply the strain of coronavirus that is new as coronaviruses are something that already exists and live in almost every animal species, humans included. Although there are different symptoms depending on the strain of coronavirus, this type of virus is generally associated with respiratory or transient intestinal infections. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, most strains of coronavirus are species-specific. This means that the transition from one species to another is very rare. It also supports their view that it is unlikely that this new strain of the coronavirus will pass from humans to cats or dogs.
The World Health Organization agrees as they made a statement regarding dogs and the possibility of them contracting the new strain of coronavirus. It said that although it was possible for some breeds of dog to contract certain coronaviruses, the American Kennel Association states that there is no current evidence to suggest that either dogs or cats can become infected by the new strain. There has also been some debate regarding the effectiveness of surgical masks in preventing humans or animals from contracting the coronavirus. Although surgical masks have become one of the most popular strategies used by people to reduce their risk of developing coronavirus, infectious disease specialists say that it is unlikely that they do much good.
In fact, there is no evidence to support their use at all. Specialists argue that surgical masks are not fitted to your face. Also, gaps easily form around the edges of the mouth and the cheeks. Furthermore, the masks are generally made from very flimsy material. These factors combined suggest that people are doing very little to reduce their risk of getting coronavirus simply by wearing masks, and the same is true for animals given masks to wear. As organizations are offering differing advice regarding the likelihood of cats and dogs contracting the coronavirus, pet owners remain cautious. Many are continuing to use the masks despite the argument that it is unlikely that their pets can contract the illness. Likewise, until organizations can confirm the best ways to prevent the spread of the disease, it is unlikely that people will stop wearing surgical masks and adapting them for their pets.
There remains a very real threat from the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, as officials are continuing to fight to prevent the virus from spreading further. The disease was first reported on New Year’s Eve, 2019, in Wahun, China. This city remains the epicenter of the virus. As of February 18, 2020, the number of reported cases has risen to approximately 73, 439, and the death toll stands at 1,875. The majority of the reported cases and the deaths are in China, although this is now a global issue as 30 countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of these, five of the countries other than China have had citizens die as a result of the virus. These include Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, U.A.E., and Italy.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship has also been at the center of the drama. The ship carries more than four thousand passengers of multiple nationalities. On the ship, there have been approximately 542 confirmed cases of the virus. The people on board the ship were held in quarantine, although many have now been released from the ship and are being supported in getting home by their respective governments. It is important to note that there have been no reported cases of the new coronavirus strain in animals, at this time. Likewise, there are currently no cat or dog deaths linked to the new strain of the coronavirus. Therefore, the current advice is that those with cats or dogs do not need to take measures to prevent them from contracting the disease.