Don’t freak out, but cats can contract COVID-19. Seriously, please don’t be alarmed. Let me explain.

A new study has shown that felines can indeed catch the infamous virus we just can’t seem to get rid of, and they can also pass it to other cats. To be fair, the study was done under controlled conditions and does not represent the actual behavior of humans and their pets.So in your normal interactions with your cat, there is little chance of her getting it.

The British Veterinary Association states that animals can technically act as fomites (a new word for me; objects that can be contaminated with infectious organisms) for the virus, theoretically carrying it in their fur and possibly transmitting it to others, but no evidence exists that pets can even transmit the virus to humans. The BVA recommends keeping cats indoors if they’re happy to do so, but hopefully you were already doing that anyway. Unlike those pesky Brits, the good ol’ American Veterinary Medical Association has not issued any panic-worthy statement. Cats are not a source of infection for humans, as far as current evidence suggests, and pose no risk to you or your families.

But if you have a tiger, things may be a bit different for you. In a post-Joe Exotic world, I can’t put anything past y’all anymore. There has been one reported case of a tiger with the new coronavirus. Her name is Nadia, she lives at the Bronx Zoo, and she’s expected to make a full recovery with no issue. It’s hard to gauge how the virus will affect big cats or what this means for the rest of us, but it is good to know. Just try to refrain from petting any tigers you come across and you should be fine.

Bottom line? Keep doing what we’ve all been doing for weeks now. Keep your kitties close and your hand sanitizer closer. Stay inside, work on your banana bread recipe, discover all the things you never knew you hated about your spouse, etc. And if your cats start to worry you, know that Gill Bright is here. Until the end of the month, we’re offering $19 off cat yearly appointments, too! If you’re going out anyway, go ahead and bring Garfield for a checkup. Don’t forget flea prevention! I got a little lazy with it and now instead of a cat I have a full-on fleabag. We’re both traumatized from the anti-flea measures I’ve had to take, so PLEASE keep up with it for your own sake.

Have a safe and happy April from all of us at Gill Bright Animal Hospital!