does the cat have coronavirus

Does the cat have coronavirus?

The cat suddenly began spitting up  white frothy fluid after having what sounded like choking spells… but I thought she was throwing up.  Later when I learned that the cat began having coughing spells the week before, and diarrhea a week before that, it all came together.

Does our cat have coronavirus? I asked the Vet.  He was hesitant in responding, basically saying he doubts it was the case.  

“But she’s having respiratory distress, just like those cats in NY diagnosed with it.” 


Sudden Respiratory Distress

Waiting in the car at the Vet ER gave me plenty of time to peruse the internet for answers.  The cat had suddenly begun open mouthed breathing, while holding her tongue in a peculiar shape, and the pace of her breathing was fast and shallow.  I recognized it as definitely abnormal, perhaps a form of “tenting posture” seen in human in respiratory distress.  

Cats Test Positive for Coronavirus

Several articles talked about the two cats testing positive for coronavirus.  The cats were found in respiratory distress after their owners had been hospitalized with COVID-19.  But that was it – no symptoms, no follow-up, no recommendations.  Was everyone just winging it?  The CDC’s information was vague and noncommittal – they seemed more invested in diminishing fear than sharing the science.  Here is what they shared:

  1. We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but we know that it originally came from an animal source.
  2. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  3. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
  4. We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

Viruses Don’t Discriminate

Although we are still becoming familiar with this particular virus, it’s not entirely novel to science, it’s just new to the human populations.  Even so, we know that viruses don’t discriminate between species, we are literally all the same from the virus’ point of view.

  • The virus can be contracted and carried in another species, but the ability of that virus to cause disease or illness in that species depends on the virus’ ability to gain access to the hosts cells and reproduce. 
  • The symptoms evident in an infected host, despite the species, are not directly caused by the virus, but rather the body’s response to the virus.  
  • The virus hides in our cells, shielding itself from attack by our immune system by directing our cells to hide their presence from our immune system.   As the viral load swells, our immune system pulls out all the stops, causing the symptoms experienced as the havoc symptoms of COVID-19.  
  1. Yes, our cats, dogs and probably any species of pet we have in our living environment can become carriers of this virus.
  2. Yes, we can become exposed to the virus and pick it up from our pets while interacting with them.

Weather our pets show symptoms and become sick depends on their body’s physiological receptivity.  

Again, they do not mean to misinform you, they are probably attempting to minimize the fallout of the populations’ fear response… because they know of no way to treat this virus.  If only they knew it is as easy to treat as making Dandelion Tea.  

Improvement after Dandelion Tea

After waiting four hours in the car, the Vet ER released the cat back into our care.  The oxygen they gave her had been good for her, but getting her home I provided a syringe of Dandelion Tea to her, then mixed 1/4 cup into her 2 cup water bowl. 

The cat slept most of the next day, but emerged to drink the water/dandelion mixture.  Although still appearing weak, by the evening she was improved enough to begin stalking my dogs again.  The next morning she was eating and acting like herself. She has had no further fever, coughing or respiratory distress.   After my close exposure with the cat, I began to feel like my body was fighting off something again, so I’ve resumed daily Dandelion Tea, for me and all my pets.  

I confirmed with the Vet ER that they do not have the coronavirus test readily available to test animals that present to their site.  I shared my suspicion that the cat was sick with the coronavirus and left my number to contact me should anyone get sick after exposure to our cat.  Updates will be forthcoming.


The cat continues to do well on the natural antiviral treatment.  I treated her for about two weeks… initially giving her a syringe of cooled dandelion tea twice a day for 3 days, then placing about 1/4 cup in her water bowl daily.  For the first two days she mainly slept, but by the third day she was back to her usual antics.


But it appeared I stopped treatment too soon, because after another couple of weeks her coughing began again.  This time I treated her for three weeks with daily dandelion in her water bowl, but have continued to provide it every three to four days since and she has had no recurrence of her symptoms.


Dr Jean Dodd, of Hemopet, demonstrated mastery in choosing to cover the topic of Coronavirus in her January Veterinary blog this year:   

Current Known Coronaviruses in Companion Cats

Two coronavirus strains in cats are significant at this time: feline enteric coronavirus and feline infectious peritonitis.

Similar to canine enteric coronavirus, feline enteric coronavirus causes mild diarrhea in cats.

Feline infectious peritonitis is an immune-mediated disease triggered by infection with a feline coronavirus. It can be expressed in one of two ways: a “wet” form or a “dry” form. Both forms include fever that include antibiotic-resistant fever, anorexia, weight loss and lethargy. The wet form is further characterized by accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity and/or the chest cavity.

A vaccine is available against feline infectious peritonitis. However, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, Dr. Dodds and Dr. Ron Schultz do not recommend it.

Current Known Coronaviruses in Companion Dogs

Current strains are canine respiratory coronavirus, canine enteric coronavirus, and pantropic canine coronavirus.

Canine respiratory coronavirus is a part of the kennel cough complex and is spread in kennel-like situations where dogs have high contact with one another or infected surfaces.

Canine enteric virus causes diarrhea. A vaccine is available for this strain. However, Dr. Dodds, Dr. Ron Schultz, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) do not recommend it. As AAHA succinctly puts it, “Canine coronavirus (CCV) vaccination is not recommended on the grounds that infection: (1) causes mild or subclinical disease, (2) generally occurs in dogs 6 wks of age and younger, and (3) is typically self-limiting.”

The symptoms of canine pantropic coronavirus are lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, hemorrhagic diarrhea, and neurologic signs (ataxia, seizures). This strain appears to have not yet spread beyond Europe. There is no evidence that the canine enteric virus vaccine cross-protects against canine pantropic coronavirus, according to the WSAVA.