Pet Cat First UK Animal to Test Positive for CCP Virus

July 27, 2020 Updated: July 27, 2020

A pet cat has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the first confirmed case of animal infection in the UK, the British government said on Monday.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said in a statement.

The cat probably contracted the CCP virus from its owners, who had previously tested positive for COVID-19, DEFRA said.

Epoch Times Photo
A pug called Winston was reported in April to be the first dog in America to contract the CCP virus, but made a full recovery. (Courtesy of Heather McLean)

“This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within in a few days,” Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, said.

Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said the case should not be a cause for alarm.

“The investigation into this case suggest that the infection was spread from humans to animal, and not the other way round,” she said. “At this time, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to humans.”

Pet owners are advised to follow the general advice on fighting the CCP virus and wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.

Bronx Zoo coronavirus
An ambulance arrives at a parking lot at the Bronx Zoo in New York City on April 23, 2020. Seven more big cats tested positive for the CCP virus (COVID-19) after a tiger tested positive earlier in the month. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

The pet cat was initially diagnosed by a private vet with feline herpes virus, a common cat respiratory infection, but the sample was also tested for the CCP virus as part of a research program.

After testing the samples, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge confirmed on July 22 that the cat had contracted COVID-19.

Around the world, there have been a small number of confirmed cases in animals.

There have been several cases of cat infections in Belgium and in the United States.

A study published in April found cats are highly susceptible to the virus and can infect each other via respiratory droplets.

Dogs are also known to have been infected, according to reports from the United States and Hong Kong.

In April, several tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York also tested positive for the CCP virus.

Earlier this month, health authorities in Spain ordered the culling of all 93,000 mink at a farm after discovering that most of the animals there had been infected with the CCP virus.