As you already know, we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, and many of us are worried about our families, our friends, and our pets. We've been working non-stop over the last few weeks to understand how this can affect our pets and what we as a community can do to help. Below is what Basepaws is doing to help our cat parents, employees and families.
If you are feeling anxious right now, you are not alone. Staying home, protecting ourselves and others is critical, but can become lonely and stressful. We, and the wider pet parent community, are here for you. The internet can be an overwhelming place right now, so our scientists and veterinarians are working hard to share the best, most vetted knowledge about this disease and if/how it affects our pets. Join our Basepaws Facebook Page and our Basepaws Cat DNA Club where we provide up to date info while answering your questions about how to protect and care for your pets at this time.
Everyone here at Basepaws wants to help. That's why we've partnered with AdoptAPet.com and will be donating $5 from every Basepaws CatKit sale. It's the least we can do. We couldn’t be more grateful for your support and are happy to pay it forward.
We have worked hard to ensure there is minimal interruption to our services while keeping our employees and scientists safe. We will do our best to process your samples within our usual time frame (6-9 weeks), but please be advised that due to social distancing measures, we are working at a reduced capacity and, in some cases, samples can be delayed by up 1-2 weeks. The Basepaws team is taking every necessary precaution in order to stay safe, and we have set up alternative ways to continue processing samples while having to minimize day-to-day laboratory work. Since we run our own independent laboratory in Los Angeles, we are able to create a safe environment by managing the flow of people and implementing shorter schedules. Our shipping times have not had any impact and our CatKits still ship in 1-3 business days. International shipping also continues without issue, at this time.
Unfortunately, some people are unable to care for their pets right now and many pets are looking for temporary shelter. Even though the WHO states our pets are safe from this virus, we are seeing a rapid increase of overwhelmed shelters at full capacity. Are you working from home? This is a great time to foster or adopt and support your local shelter. Now, more than ever, your donations will save innocent lives.
Avoid leaving your home unless necessary. If you need to order cat food or medicine, try to purchase at least 2 weeks of food at a time. Many places are still accepting online orders.
Be diligent in practicing social distancing and limit contact with other people. This perhaps is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
Wash your hands thoroughly and often throughout the day. If you have to leave your house, wash your hands immediately upon returning and don’t forget to sanitize items you handled while being out, i.e. cell phone, credit cards, car keys, car door handles, steering wheel and front door knobs.
Avoid touching your face unless you have thoroughly washed or sanitized your hands first.
Follow guidance from the CDC and your local authorities.
Update as of May 27th, 2020: At this point, there have been reports of cats testing positive for COVID-19, both inside and outside the US. The first known case was a symptomatic domestic cat in Belgium testing positive for the virus in March, 2020, a week after its owner got sick with the disease. In April, there were reports of two cats living in different households in New York showing mild respiratory symptoms and testing positive for the virus. In the first case, the cat was owned by a confirmed COVID-19 patient, while in the second case, it is suspected the cat got infected from an asymptomatic human carrier. April also brought the news of 8 big cats (three lions and five tigers) at the Bronx zoo testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. The current hypothesis is that they were infected by a zookeeper with COVID-19.
In April, the first scientific study on the effect of COVID-19 in pets was published by a Chinese group of scientists. The study looks at the susceptibility of cats (among other animals) to the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in humans. The study's results suggest that cats deliberately inoculated with the virus can get infected and potentially transmit the disease to other cats. Importantly, the viral inoculation conditions used in the study relied on very high amounts of the virus, which is not representative of what typically happens during an infection in the real world.
In May, the Chinese study's results were confirmed by another scientific publication co-authored by scientists in the US and Japan. The infected cats showed no clinical signs of illness and were expected to make full recovery.
While reports of pets testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 get more publicity, it is important to note that a study conducted at a French veterinary campus demonstrated that domestic cats living in close proximity to COVID-19 patients do not necessarily contract the virus themselves. Nine domestic cats living with two confirmed COVID-19 positive students (and 11 symptomatic suspected COVID-19 carriers) all tested negative for the virus and showed no antibodies against it in their blood. This study suggests that outside of controlled lab conditions, transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to cats does not happen readily or with high frequency.
It is critical to emphasize that there is currently no evidence of cats transmitting the disease to humans.
Please remember that if you do become infected or need to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19, you should continue to follow the CDC guidelines to best protect yourself and your pets.
As many people have felt, the new Coronavirus disease has caused ripples throughout the world of travel, business, society, and our views on our pets’ health and immunity. While the new Coronavirus currently presents no cause for concern from a pet standpoint, it is still important to protect our pets while we protect ourselves from the disease, as well as from misleading information on the internet. If you have any questions that were not answered here, or have any other concerns about the current Coronavirus or how Basepaws is responding to the pandemic, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.