Scientists at a laboratory in Weybridge Surrey, tested a pet cat and found it had coronavirus last Wednesday.
The is the first known animal in the UK to have tested positive for the virus, which has been described as “a very rare event,” by the UK’s chief veterinary officer.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said, “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for COVID-19 has been detected in a pet cat in England.
“This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within in a few days.
“There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update.”
Public Health England (PHE) said this “should not be a cause for alarm,” whilst the government said there is no evidence the pet cat transmitted the “disease to its owners.”
Yvonne Doyle added, “In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.”
The British government said, “There is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners or that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people.”