Domestic cats and dogs may have to be vaccinated in the future against Covid-19 to protect people

This is a quick note but one worth making nonetheless. I think I can predict that in the long term, perhaps in about 18 months to 2 years time, governments in various countries, perhaps predominantly in the West, will be thinking about vaccinating companion animals as a second phase protective measure against Covid-19.  This is because there is a concern amongst some scientists that animals may create a reservoir for mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus. As the virus is zoonotic it can theoretically and actually be transmitted from animals to people and this must apply also to companion animals. Danish mink farmer with white mink due to be euthanised. Photo per credit Perhaps because of the general panicked nature of governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic, not enough work has been done on this aspect of the spread of the disease. In addition nobody wants to alarm anybody which may lead to companion animal abuse. In fact, in China, at the outset of the pandemic, there were

Stressed Rescued Cats

Studies indicate that cats are stressed when moved to rescue centers. This confirms what we know through the application of common sense. Cat caretakers know that when you move to a new place it may take you and your cat up to 6 months or more to settle in. Initially, your cat will be quite anxious and hide. We have all seen that. It took Charlie, my cat, about 2 weeks to simply calm down a bit! He hid under a desk or anywhere he could find for the first couple of days.

Shelter cats show signs of acute stress over the initial period of being at a new shelter. The time taken to adapt depends on the individual cat. That is common sense too.

However, the time taken to adapt will be several days to several weeks. Stress is caused by being in a strange place, strange routine, strange smells, people they don't know, close proximity to other cats, strange smells and importantly for shelter cats there is no where to hide.

I ask therefore how can shelter employees assess a cat's character under these circumstances (and therefore suitability for adoption)? I presume that they at least wait for a few before making an assessment.  But that might be impractical.

It would seem that cats who have nice characters, who are ideal as cat companions but who are slow to adapt to the new environment will be assessed as unsuitable. Or am I missing something?

This chimes with stories you hear of animal control grabbing cats and trying to put them into cages and getting scratched, then declaring that the cat is aggressive and putting the cat down. Totally idiotic, really. But it happens.

Lorraine St John who runs the Kent Wildlife Rescue centre in Kent, England says that the "biggest killer you get at animal shelters is not the illness...but stress". She was talking about the nursing back to health of a fox that had been hit by a car. He was blinded and comatose. He was put in a cage with abandoned kittens. The kittens nursed the fox back to health playing their part with the staff at the centre. The fox and kittens formed a great friendship which made the foxes recovery highly successful. Sadly they were separated when the fox was released back to the wild and the kittens rehomed. See the story.

Associated: Multi-treatments from a vet can cause stress too.

Reference: The Welfare of Cats ISBN 978-1-4020-6143-1


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