I've love my cat so much that he is part of my family and no matter what we may do, Mako will be with us for as long as he lives. That being said, going through the news and finding out that people are dumping their pets at shelters or abandoning them because of news that a dog has contracted the virus is devastating to me. I simply cannot understand it. People aren't dumping their kids because they can catch it so why would they dump an animal that depends on them for everything?
Sorry. Yes, I am a crazy cat person who doesn't have children, but I have plenty of much younger family members and I understand that people are more important than pets, no matter how much I love them. Still, I think people are going way overboard by dumping their pets because of the virus.
First of all, you are more likely to give your pet the virus than the pet giving it to you. So far, animals seem to have a much higher resistance to the virus than people and all the animals that have been confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 (a relative to Covid-19) were exposed to their owners who had Covid-19 first. Even then, they developed antibodies and recovered and there have been no reported cases of people catching the virus from their pets.
So, as far as we’re aware, your pets are in more danger being around you than vice versa. That does NOT mean get rid of your pet! To keep your pet safe, keep following the guidelines the CDC and government have already put out: wash your hands, keep away from other people, don’t go out unless necessary, etc. For those who like to let your cat run out and explore the neighborhood (first of all, stop that), you may want to consider keeping kitty indoors until this blows over so he’s safe from strangers petting him. And I know dogs like to socialize with other dogs, but she’ll probably have learn to admire from afar for a while.
Your pets should be just as important as your family in this situation. There’s no need to abandon them for fear of a virus they can’t give you. Please don’t give into the fear mongering. Keep your pet safe and away from strangers and you will be fine.
RSPCA Knowledge Base: https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/can-i-contract-covid-19-from-domestic-animals/
World Organisation for Animal Health: https://www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/
Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/coronavirus/animals