Cornell Feline Health Center

Supporting Cat Health with Information and Health Studies.

Coronavirus Update

The Cornell Feline Health Center is closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The health, safety, and well-being of our community is our top priority; and we are working hard to assure that we can continue to provide information and support to cat lovers in a manner that is consistent with the recommendations of local and state public health officials.

Please direct all Feline Health Center-related inquiries (including those pertaining to the Camuti Consultation Service) to fhc@cornell.edu.

The Camuti Consultation Service will continue to operate on its usual schedule, although intake for this service will be carried out via the e-mail address provided above.

You can find the most updated information regarding the greater Cornell Community on the official Cornell Resource Page.


Here is what we know so far: 

The COVID-19 pandemic presents us all with unprecedented challenges; and local, regional, and national governments are taking steps to slow its spread as researchers investigate ways to prevent and treat infections.

Many cat owners have asked us about the possibility of transmitting this virus to their cats, and whether their cats could potentially infect people. Here is some information to help you stay informed, vigilant, and safe.

  • To our knowledge, there has only been one documented case of feline COVID-19 infection, A cat owned by a person in Belgium tested positive for the virus. Indications currently suggest this cat was infected by its owner, not the other way around. The cat developed gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, but is currently recovering. The virus was found in this cat’s feces.  

  • While this information might seem frightening, please remember: There is currently no definitive evidence that either cats or dogs can transmit COVID-19 to humans.

As we continue to learn more, it’s important to note that since cats and dogs are mammals, the possibility of human-to-cat transmission, and vice versa, does technically exist.

For this reason, anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should limit their contact with their pets, and wash their hands before and after interacting with them, which includes cleaning their litter boxes.

If you notice your pet experiencing respiratory illness or fever, we recommend (out of an abundance of caution) to quarantine them, wash your hands carefully before and after handling them, and contact a veterinarian immediately to consult about best next steps.

It is very important that cat owners understand that the current situation warrants caution, but that they should not seek COVID-19 testing for their cats, given the shortage of tests available for humans. It’s also important to point out that currently available information suggests that if precautions are taken, the likelihood of cats becoming infected and of them serving as a source of COVID-19 infection is believed to be very low.

Some trusted resources for additional information can be found here:

American Veterinary Medical Association

World Organisation for Animal Health

City University of Hong Kong

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