Dear Ms. Kitty,

I am in a high-risk group for COVID- 19 and I am worried about my cats. What steps can I take to keep them safe if I get sick?

Stressed in Security

Dear Stressed,

You are asking an important question. There are many situations where we might need to have an emergency plan for our pets.

I suggest identifying alternate caregivers and developing instructions so your cats will be provided for in an emergency. I hope you stay isolated and safe and do not need to activate an emergency plan, but having it will provide peace of mind.

Emergency plan for pet care
Find a temporary caregiver who knows your cats and can access your home. Have a discussion with family members, friends, and neighbors to identify those individuals who can provide care. You might also have a pet sitter or boarding facility that can be engaged for this emergency care.

Provide personality profiles for each cat. List ways to reduce stress, and the favorite treat or activity that will help your cats to feel comforted during the upset in their routine.

Make and clearly label an emergency supply kit

  • Name and contact information for the person who can care for your cats and a backup person.
  • Food, treats, toys, blankets, beds, dishes, medications and any other supplies necessary for the care of your cats for at least four weeks.
  • A carrier for each cat for transport and as a safe hiding place.
  • Vet records with photos of each cat.
  • Veterinarian’s contact information and a form authorizing the temporary caregiver to seek treatment under your guidelines.
  • Collar or harness with ID tags
  • Make sure their microchip information is up to date.
  • Daily care instructions, feeding amounts and times, medications and how to administer, details on any special needs.

What if I get COVID-19?:

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, there are special precautions required. Dr Angie Kruse, DVM, of Boulder Holistic Vet provided the following recommendations in her blog.

Even if you are able, please ask someone to care for your cat for you. There are now two US cases of cats who likely caught COVID-19 from their guardians, so you need to be careful.

Caring for your cat in your own home:

  • Enter your home wearing facemask and gloves.
  • Brief visit with your cat daily for feedings, medication administration, and playtime.
  • Scoop kitty litter box once daily.
  • Bring a fresh pair of clothes and shoes to change into immediately after leaving the home. Place old clothes into trash bag if unable to wash immediately.
  • Disinfect all articles of clothes, socks and shoes immediately by washing on a warm cycle.
  • Disinfect all porous cat needs (like beds, towels, toys, harness) brought from your home by washing on a warm cycle.
  • Dispose of facemask and gloves.

Taking your cat for care in another home:

  • Enter your home wearing facemask and gloves.
  • Wipe all non-porous pet needs (crate, water and food bowl, and plastic toy) with disinfectant wipes.
  • Place all porous pet needs (like beds, towels, toys, harness) into trash bag.
  • Carefully place your cat into the carrier using fear-free techniques if possible, like using food to lure.
  • Bring a fresh pair of clothes and shoes to change into immediately after leaving your home. Place old clothes into trash bag if unable to wash immediately.
  • Disinfect all articles of clothes, socks and shoes immediately by washing on a warm cycle.
  • Clean or disinfect any item that was used to transport your cat.
  • Disinfect all porous cat needs (like beds, towels, toys, harness) brought from your home by washing on a warm cycle.
  • Bathe your cat immediately (using Chlorhexidine shampoo if possible). Allow shampoo to sit (if possible) for 10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Dispose of facemask and gloves.

You can find a check list developed by Dr Krause to help in preparing your pet for a COVID-19 emergency here.

Tap here for our state’s instructions about staying safe and getting us through this pandemic together.

For more general questions about COVID-19 and cats, tap here.

Please stay safe out there!

Melissa Shandley is one of the founders of Happy Cats Haven, a Cat Behavior Consultant and Cat Care Provider.
www.playandtreatpetservice.com
shandleym@q.com
719-686-8778

Ask Ms Kitty is a free helpline offered by Happy Cats Haven and managed by Colorado CATS. Tap here for more Ask Ms Kitty articles.

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