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Owners must act responsibly and care for their pets

By LI YINGXUE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-08-10 07:48
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A resident jogs in the morning carrying her dog in Yantai, Shandong province, on Aug 1. TANG KE/FOR CHINA DAILY

A female Siamese cat was confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom in July. Previously, in March, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region confirmed a Pomeranian was infected with the coronavirus.

The news about pets being infected in different places has caused panic among some pet owners.

But Sun Quanhui, a scientist from World Animal Protection, suggests there is no reason for pet owners to be unduly worried, and they should not abandon, abuse or even kill their pets because they fear they might become infected.

According to the World Health Organization, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low.

The WHO recommends people who are sick with COVID-19 and those who are in close contact with them limit contact with companion and other animals, and always implement basic hygiene measures, including washing hands after handling animals, their food or supplies, and to avoid kissing their pets and sharing food with them.

The pandemic has given more time for owners to spend time with their pets while on the other hand leaves less time for the cats to stay alone and dogs to go out and play.

Sun says cat owners should create some quiet corner or cat climber to give their cats a choice when they want to be alone and try not to disturb them.

"Both cats and dogs need a certain amount of exercise. With limited opportunities to go outside, owners can use toys and play with their pets," Sun says.

"Using a cat teaser to simulate bird or tiny animal can let the cat enjoy the happiness of hunting, and sufficient and high quality exercise can reduce the behavior of biting people or destroying furniture," he says.

In February, a photo of a cat wearing a blue mask with eye holes cut out of it on a street became a hit on micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo.

The cat was made into a sculpture by a young Japanese amateur sculptor who goes by the pseudonym Meetissai and the sculpture was manufactured and sold online in China. The money is to be donated to Wuhan, Hubei province, which was the main battleground for China's war against the virus.

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