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Can Pets Get Coronavirus?
Janie Airey/Getty Images

Sure, it’s good to know what to do if/when you start exhibiting symptoms, whether or not going for a run in the park is OK and how to mitigate any anxiety you might be feeling in these uncertain times. But ask any pet owner and you’ll find they have one question on their mind: Can pets get coronavirus?

Short answer? No. According to the CDC, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that cats, dogs or other household pets can become sick with COVID-19, nor can they transmit the disease between humans.

Why do people think coronavirus might infect their pets?

The word coronavirus actually refers to a type of virus, not a specific variation, in the same way that the word flu encompasses both bird flu and the average flu strains we see each winter. And while the particular coronavirus that’s currently sweeping the globe, COVID-19, can’t transfer to dogs and cats, some coronaviruses can. Some types are specific to animals, some only affect humans and some that can go between the two. COVID-19 is the kind that can only infect humans.

How does it spread then?

COVID-19 can pass between people who are in close contact with one another, typically within a six-foot range, and through respiratory droplets, that delightful spray that comes out of your nose or mouth when you sneeze or cough. (This is why we’re all being encouraged to stay home and avoid unnecessary physical interactions with others as a super-effective way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading even further.) So while you should walk swiftly in the opposite direction if you see a human sneezing while you’re taking a much-needed run around the block, you can continue to coo over how adorable it is when your kitty sneezes without fear of getting little kitty sneeze droplets on your hand.

Is there anything we should be doing differently with our pets right now?

The best thing you can do for your furry friend is to stay home with him (less because it will make him the happiest boy of all time and more because self-isolating will help lessen the effects of COVID-19, but also, sure, because of the bonding time). This means stocking up on kitty litter, any pet medications and pet food in addition to human food so you’re not forced to share your morning oatmeal or fruit salad with your pup. You should also pause on hiring a dog walker for a little while to further cut back on potentially transferring the disease. (If you can afford it, however, it can be nice to continue paying your regular service, or perhaps pay in advance for next month to help those people get by while everyone is home walking their own dogs.)

While you’re home enjoying those extra hours with your significant animal, here are some things you 100 percent, absolutely can do with them:

  • Take a cat nap.
  • Watch Air Bud. (Snd Air Bud: Golden Receiver and Air Bud: World Pup and…)
  • Take long walks without touching anything or anyone.
  • Share an ice cream cone.
  • Partake in office video calls.
  • Sing the songs of your people late into the night.
  • Track squirrels, birds and bunnies outside your window.
  • Pick out a new toy to order from Amazon.
  • Become viral Instagram sensations.
  • Climb the drapes.
  • Binge-watch Love Is Blind and talk about how crazy it is that Jessica gave her dog red wine.
  • And most important of all, snuggle.

RELATED: Everybody’s Getting Puppies, and It’s Actually Not a Terrible Idea

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