By this point in the pandemic, most people recognize the importance of taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the people around us. But what about spreading the coronavirus to our furry, four-legged friends? Though there’s still much to learn, the CDC finds that some mammals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. And cats are among them.
Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus in cats and the treatments you can provide to boost their immune system as you work to keep them safe.
Vets have long known about the sensitivity of cats to different strains of the coronavirus. Infection from Feline Coronavirus (FCov) is common among cats and in most instances, is either asymptomatic or exhibits itself in the form of mild diarrhea. A very small number of cats develop feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which can prove lethal. Though COVID-19 is not yet a feline health crisis, there have been a few cases of humans passing the virus along to their pets (the good news is they can’t transfer the virus to humans).
Two cats in different parts of New York have been diagnosed with the virus, suffering at most mild respiratory issues before making a full recovery. There may be more cats in New York and other states that have fallen ill from SARS-CoV-2, but the natural yet inscrutable way cats behave when they’re sick makes them tough to diagnose.
How can you tell if a cat is suffering from a strain of the coronavirus? Not easily. As the Helpful Vancouver Vet puts it, “Evolutionarily, [cats] are used to not relying on anyone for help. They don’t show their sickness, they try to hide it.” In general, their ill health might manifest in a loss of appetite, increased surliness, inappropriate waste elimination, or a compulsion to hide more than usual.
As a rule of thumb, good cat owners are cautious cat owners, bringing them to the vet when felines act out of the ordinary. When pet parents want to treat coronavirus in cats, there are a few ways to do so. One of the main treatments for FIP resulting from coronavirus is a drug called GS-441524, which is a therapeutic compound found in Remdesivir. Most cats recuperate in a reasonable amount of time.
Probiotics or beneficial bacteria are also effective in the prevention of viral infection. When cats receive a healthy amount of probiotics, their immune system is better equipped to fend off viruses – and alleviate the symptoms of respiratory infections.
Yet for these healthy bacteria cultures to thrive, they need a reliable source of prebiotics, such as plants from the Allium family or seaweed like Ascophyllum nodosum. Though members of the Allium family (think garlic, onions, and leeks) are commonly known to be poisonous to felines, many pet owners have asked us: can cats eat seaweed?
Studies have shown felines fed frugal amounts of seaweed can receive dietary and immune health benefits. In trying times, using kelp meal for cats (like our Tasco® products) in your feed formulas can be the key to helping felines land on their feet when dealing with viral strains, now and in the future.
Want to help prevent coronavirus in cats with an all-natural supplement? Reach out to our representatives to learn more or if you’re ready to buy Tasco® for feline health.