Health officials confirm H1N1 in cat

Posted on November 9, 2009 under Pet Health & Safety

Health officials confirm H1N1 in catLast month, a cat in Ames, Iowa, influenced how animal owners across the country think about pet health when it returned from a visit to the vet with a H1N1 flu diagnosis.

The 13-year-old tabby cat was the first documented case of the swine flu being passed from a human to a pet, after its owners came down with the virus in late October, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Kimberly May, a veterinary doctor and assistant director of professional services at the American Veterinary Medical Association told the news source, "In general, cats are not considered susceptible to human flu viruses, but this cat got H1N1 flu from its owners…It seems to be the first time a cat caught flu from a human."

While no dogs are known to have caught H1N1, May is not ruling out the possibility. In addition to cats, animals known to be susceptible to the infection include ferrets, domestic turkeys and pigs.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have emphasized that there is currently no evidence that suggests swine flu can be passed from pets to people.