The first pets in the United States — two cats from New York — have tested positive for the coronavirus. But what exactly does that mean? Should you be worried about your animals? Can you spread the deadly disease to them or can you catch it from them? Here’s what you need to know.

According to the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control, the two felines are from different parts of the state. They showed only mild symptoms and are expected to be fine. One cat was reported to be owned by a person who tested positive for the illness as well, but the other cat lived in a household where no members had confirmed cases of the disease.

Other cats have also caught the virus, including one in Hong Kong, Belgium and a bunch of tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York — which as of Wednesday, were said to be doing well. No dogs have caught the disease so far in the U.S., but two outside of America have reportedly tested positive. They did not have any symptoms.

coronavirus pets

So can you catch the disease from your pets? Well, according to medical experts, no, you can’t — but they can catch it from you. But should you be worried? Karen Terio, the chief of the Zoological Pathology Program at University of Illinois’s veterinary college, doesn’t think so.

“If this was going to be a serious problem for cats, we would have seen greater numbers,” she explained, adding that the direction of infection “is not going to be cat to human. It’s going to be us to our pets. Thankfully, they’re having very mild disease.”

For those who missed it, over 2,600,000 people have contracted the coronavirus so far, resulting in more than 185,000 deaths. Medical professionals have called for “social distancing” to prevent further spreading of the sickness, which is defined as “trying to keep yourself away from other people, especially large crowds.” Because of this many events, concerts, award shows, conventions and festivals have been canceled, including all Broadway plays and sports games. People are urged to stay indoors, avoid public places and isolate themselves during this time.

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