Care for our furry friends
There is no evidence, so far, that cats or dogs can transmit COVID-19. However, that does not mean that it is business as usual for our pets.
Staying home more means more confinement, and more anxiety for some dogs. It also means more play time and more healthy interaction for some cats. Because we interact so much with our pets, it is crucially important to clean surfaces regularly — especially hard surfaces — such as food dishes, and some toys.
Bedding, and all other things should also be tended to with a bit more caution.
If a person in the home tests positive, it is advisable to limit all contact with pets. Animals, as you know, have their own minds. They can be unpredictable, and even though we may not slobber all over them, they are not always so dainty with us. This means that extra touching and wiping may be required, and then there is the extra stress put upon people with things like litter boxes, and other elimination issues.
To my mind, a cat or dog, relieves stress in most situations. They often make the very best, non-judgmental sick nurses. However, I think people must be wary if they choose to go this route. Common sense may be your best guide. You likely know your pet better than anyone else, and know whether confining them is going to increase, or decrease, stress. You also know the environment in your home. Young kids home from school, or extra guests, will certainly impact everyone in your home, regardless of their number of legs.
Think in terms of germs
Even if animals do not transmit germs, or specifically, virus, we still have to be very conscientious about all they touch, and all we touch. The leading factor in transmitting virus is tiny droplets coughed, or sneezed. A lesser cause, is again, our frequent touch surfaces. Frequent touch surfaces, light switches, phones, and so on, are more absent-mindedly touched when a pet is distracting a person.
Pet Prep Preparedness
Just like you have for yourself and your family, you must have a preparedness plan for your pet in the case of COVID-19 infection. Have a designated person to help feed and shelter should anyone in your household become unavailable. Have identification on your pet. Have all supplies, such as relocation crates packed and ready to go. Have all health records and dietary requirements written down.
Many animal lovers help provide food to cat colonies. Where I live, right now, our parks where many colonies dwell, are off limits to guests. I have no idea whether the cats are being fed. If not, I suspect a lot of birds, rodents and mongoose are dead, or on the menu. If you have the means, please donate to programs that serve communities by stopping the overpopulation of cats, or other pets, through neuter programs. If possible, volunteer. If you have any spare time, and anxious energy, just call someone in your area that helps with animals. Remember they save only as much as we save them.
Have a heart
Many people are having to relinquish their pets. If at all possible, adopt. In a healthy home, a pet can be a great source of comfort.
Remember that it is our worst human habits, our careless interaction with animals — viral spillover — that brought on this virus. When we show compassion, we save more than just animals lives. In the best of times, and in the worst of times, animals matter.