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I recently tested positive for Covid and I’ve been isolating myself in one of the bedrooms. This is the same room where my kitty sleeps and basically calls it her own territory.

She meows, yowls and scratches on the door to be let inside. Is it safe for her to be inside here? My wife is the other person in the house, along with my three other cats. None of the other cats have been trying to get inside. Also, this one is very attached to me. It’s heartbreaking to hear her yowl outside the door.

EDIT: My wife has also tested positive. We along with our cats are now isolated in our apt. They are indoor cats and we are taking precautions by sanitising beds we/they sleep on, using gloves and masks while feeding them and not petting them at all (they aren’t happy about that) and generally maintaining physical separation from them. So far none of them have shown any unusual behaviour. Thank you for all your immensely useful answers and comments!

EDIT 2: We have since recovered and tested negative (tested via RT-PCR tests and not the rapid antigen test). We didn’t test our cats but from what we see, they seem to be fine. No abnormal fluid discharges etc. The two older cats (5 and 6 yo) were quiet for a few days but they have since returned to their normal activity levels. The two younger ones (8 mos and 1 yo) were relentlessly active through our entire ordeal. All in all I think the older ones may have been infected but have since recovered and the younger ones were not. Again, this is purely based on empirical evidence and no tests. All in all we lived through this to tell the tale!

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    And get well soon! – Stephie Apr 30 at 6:24
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    Side note: "being tested positive" has nothing to do with "being a patient"... – Haukinger Apr 30 at 7:43
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    The cat is safe. Your wife not so much. If you let kitty in, she stays in. – Adam J Richardson Apr 30 at 12:51
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    is the cat an indoor or outdoor cat? Also what country are you in, as advice varies by country – Tristan Apr 30 at 13:25
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    Animals don't play any significant role in spreading this virus. None of the credible sources suggest that cats or dogs were even remotely responsible for contributing to the overall spread of this virus anywhere in the world. Moreover, RT-PCR tests (the most commonly used type of tests for this) only confirm presence of fragments of the genes of the virus, not presence of active viruses themselves; it means that even if your immune system has already completely destroyed any active viruses, and left only inactive and harmless viral remains, RT-PCR test will still tell that you are "positive". – lila May 1 at 0:09
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TLDR: Not really.

While the risk is low - COVID-19 seems to be fairly indiscriminate, with documented cases of dogs, cats, zoo otters and farmed minks getting it. Most corona virus (There's a whole family of similar viruses like SARS and MERS) outbreaks are pretty certainly zoonotic (they come from animals in the first place), so extra caution is a good idea.

The CDC advices you don't - and interestingly advices safe distancing for animals

Keep cats indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.

Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet away from others to protect them from interacting with people outside the household.

They also indicate that the symptoms are at worst mild, or affected animals may be asymptomatic

Pets infected with this virus may or may not get sick. Pets that do have symptoms usually have mild illness that can be taken care of at home.

Which of course leads to the possibility of it being spread via your pet to other people and animals

The Mayo clinic concurs - advising

Isolate yourself from everyone else, including your pet. If possible, have another person in your household care for your pet.

Essentially - please treat any mammalian pet as at risk of contracting COVID-19. While you love your cat - waiting for the necessary time is both for your safety as well as for your cat.

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    Is it for the safety of you and the pet really? Your quotes are absolutely contradictory, the pet is likely to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Comparatively being banned from her favorite playspace and possibly access to her main "friend" might have possibly serious consequences. I know I very strongly prefer to be able to be with my wife when she has the flu or cold, (which both have generally mild symptoms) to the reasonable chance of catching the disease from her. Now there could be a decent argument that it's safer to isolate from the cat for the safety of other humans. – DRF Apr 30 at 21:26
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    But from the point of view of protecting other humans it would seem much more reasonable to say quarantined with the pet. That way you're both quarantined together and hopefully if the asymptomatic cat actually caught the virus from you before you knew you were infected, she doesn't spread it further. On the other hand if once you know you're covid positive you foist the pet off on a friend or family you're likely to have just added a new transmission vector. – DRF Apr 30 at 21:29
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    A lot of your sentences would make more sense if you replaced your hyphens with commas. – Acccumulation May 1 at 18:53
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    Wouldn't it be a good idea for the cat to acquire COVID antibodies while you're all in isolation anyway? This way they will be at a much lower risk of getting infected and transmitting the virus in the future. E.g. if the cats don't get infected now, they could get infected later on without symptoms -> you give the cat to someone else while on vacation -> cat infects said person. – JonathanReez May 2 at 2:34
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    You can but you're 83% less likely to do so after an infection. It would be equivalent to giving your cats a vaccine since they're very unlikely to develop strong symptoms. – JonathanReez May 2 at 2:46
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Advice from the UK government is similar to that of the CDC mentioned by Journeyman Geek (emphasis mine):

If you, or a member of your household, have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you should self-isolate for 10 days.

If you’re self-isolating you should make alternative arrangements to take care of your animal’s welfare. You should ask for support from others who are not self-isolating or use professional services.

Whilst the risk to her own well-being is small, having contact with her would provide another possible vector to spread the disease to other members of your household or, for an outdoor cat, members of other households (via other animals).

Cats are creatures of habit, and so she is understandably frustrated by the disruption to her routine and loss of what she sees as her territory. The good news is that cats' natural response to illness is to hide and isolate themselves and so you isolating is a response she will be able to understand (especially if you were showing symptoms prior to isolating).

To deal with the plaintive yowling, I would recommend that your wife puts extra effort into engaging with her (with whatever combination of playing and petting she wants) to distract her so that she can adapt to this new situation as quickly as possible.

I hope you get through this soon, and are able to look forward to seeing her delighted face when you leave isolation again.

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    Thank you for that informative answer. I’ve edited my question with the most recent status. – electrophile May 1 at 3:06
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There are two possible scenarios:

  1. Not everyone in your household is infected with COVID. In this case the cats could serve as vectors for the virus to spread to other members of your family so you should avoid contact with them and have other members of your family treat them as infected just in case. This means always wearing a mask around your cat or when cleaning up after them, at least for a couple of weeks.

  2. Everyone in your household is currently infected (this seems to be the case according to your updated). In this case it doesn't really matter if the cats get infected as according to clinical studies they're not susceptible to serious disease:

    We report that cats are highly susceptible to infection, with a prolonged period of oral and nasal viral shedding that is not accompanied by clinical signs, and are capable of direct contact transmission to other cats. These studies confirm that cats are susceptible to productive SARS-CoV-2 infection, but are unlikely to develop clinical disease.

    So I'd let the cats hang out with everyone in the household without wearing masks, especially given how supportive animals can be while humans are sick. Your only concern would be to make sure that someone is able to take care of the animals if your symptoms worsen and you're unable to attend to their needs consistently.

In both scenarios I'd make sure that the cats are unable to leave the house for 14 days as doing so could result in the virus spreading around to other people.

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Maybe. I think it's only for you to discern.

How old is the eldest person the cat, or those around it, will come into contact within the next 14 days?

If you, your wife, and everyone else is well under 65 years old, you are safe (statistically, nothing is 100%) to be with your cat. This doesn't preclude your cat carrying the disease and infecting others in your household - but, again statistically speaking, the flu is more deadly for a vast majority of people. Covid is very strongly biased towards serious complications in those over 65, even more skewed to those over 75, or those with pre-existing conditions.

As DRF says in his comments "I know I very strongly prefer to be able to be with my wife when she has the flu or cold, (which both have generally mild symptoms) to the reasonable chance of catching the disease from her."

COVID is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus, one strain of viruses commonly referred to as 'the common cold'. In a typical year coronaviruses account for roughly 20% of common cold cases. COVID is a uniquely mutated coronavirus, and it was very scary for a long time because it was novel and acted on the human body in unexpected ways - but we know and understand it now. Most importantly, we know that while far deadlier than a typical virus of this type, it is effectively still just a common cold in almost all cases of healthy individuals under 65.

To be clear, I don't disagree with the other answers in the slightest, just mentioning if you fall into a specific subset of the population the idea of spreading it to your cat and wife may not actually affect either's safety. Though very seriously could affect their quality of life in the near term. If anything I'd say this should be your wife's (and any others in your household's) call (assuming you also meet the other listed criteria, which I understand isn't exactly commonplace).

Call me a crazy conspiracy theorist if you will. Just here to (hopefully) help you reconsider and stop living in fear if it's unnecessary. If you're over 65, have any pre-existing conditions, are immunocompromised in any way, or will be in contact with anyone who falls into that category over the next 14 days, your best bet is it to ignore this entire post, as it doesn't apply to you. However, there are subsets of the population that don't fall into that category, and if that's you and I were in your shoes I'd show my cat some love and enjoy the purrs during recovery. (I'm also young, live alone, and don't come into contact with anyone 'at risk' in my day-to-day life - everyone is different!)

TL;DR; use common sense, covid is serious, but there are well documented understandings and a majority of precautions published broadly are blanket advice to assist an uneducated public in preventing the spread of the disease on a large scale. If you educate yourself and think things through, you can make the best choices for your own life (which still may very well be following CDC or UK gov guidelines to the letter).

Hope you feel better soon regardless!

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    While 'lower' risk - the goal of isolating is to break the chain of transmission. Even in singapore- where we had gotten it under control, a single chain of transmission essentially affected 15-20 people. And we isolated the folks who were vaccinated too, in case and we have solid contact tracing and quarantine measures. People also seem to... unpredictably report longer term side effects after infection., while not as serious as dying, we simply don't know the long term implications for humans and other infected mammals. – Journeyman Geek May 1 at 2:09
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    The Freopp link you’ve provided suggests that anyone aged 15 or over has a higher risk from COVID-19 than flu. Although the absolute risk in healthy young people is not that high, hospitals around the world are seeing people in that category admitted to intensive care units with severe disease, and there have been deaths. This also presumes that the health system can deal with the numbers - clearly in some places, oxygen and other supplies have run critically low which will lead to a greater risk of severe outcomes and death. This answer also ignores the risk of long COVID. – Nick Kennedy May 1 at 15:58
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    COVID can cause not just death in the short term, but also long term illness. – Acccumulation May 1 at 18:56
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    @NickKennedy they only account for confirmed infections not all infections. You need to look at the overall number of people in the UK with long Covid, not the 13.7% number. – JonathanReez May 2 at 15:33
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    @JourneymanGeek re: chain of transmission, I agree - that's why I said it's really up to his wife/any other members of the household as it affects their quality of life. While longer term side effects do exist for covid, they are surprisingly inline with most other medical conditions, even a typical cold or flu, in terms of the population that has long term side effects. All I'm saying is don't be a hypochondriac out of fear from the things you've seen and read - only be a hypochondriac if it's truly in your nature to begin with ;) – TCooper May 3 at 22:44
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It is SAFE for your cat and there is no evidence that would suggest otherwise.

According to www.scmp.com:

“Samples collected from the cat and the dog by the department tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. However, neither of the animals has shown any symptoms at present. The AFCD will continue to closely monitor them and conduct repeated testing.”

Now, for the context: RT-PCR tests (the most commonly used type of tests for this) are triggered to give "positive" result after just detecting the mere presence of fragments of the genes of the virus, not presence of active viruses themselves; it means that even if the immune system has already completely destroyed all the active viruses, and left only inactive and harmless viral remains, RT-PCR test will still tell that the tested subject is "positive". It goes for both you in your situation, and the pets mentioned in the quoted article.

Our immune system has been evolving constantly fighting off pathogens for millions of years, and while it is not perfect, it is really quite good at it. It defends us from pathogenic intruders via destroying them; however, it does not do it via Chicago overcoat method of dressing them in cement shoes and dumping them into large water bodies without leaving any trace of evidence; instead, it destroys them in less "refined" way which leaves obvious signs and messy remains. And this is fine; our immune system cells are not criminals who would have to hide the evidence, and since all that messy remains do not present any threat to us anymore, there is no need of prioritizing getting rid of them - as a result, they could remain present in our system for WEEKS.

Now, in this context, the problem is that RT-PCR tests will detect all those mauled and harmless pathogen "corpses" and label you as "positive" - classifying you in the same exact status as someone who is losing the battle with the virus and is actively spreading active and infectious viruses.

Next important topic: animals don't play any significant role in spreading this virus. None of the credible sources suggest that cats or dogs were even remotely responsible for contributing to the overall spread of this virus anywhere in the world. The virus is spread mostly by aerosols which travel up to 30 meters before landing. Both dogs and cats have not shown any symptoms of illness. "Positive but asymptomatic", translated from the creeping newspeak, means "healthy" - no more, no less.

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    Thank you. We have since recovered and tested negative. Apparently my wife’s my immune system thought it’d be best to get rid of any dead remains pronto. I’ll edit my Q to post an update about the cats. – electrophile May 26 at 13:54

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