Wednesday 29 September 2021

China: three domestic cats euthanized after they contracted Covid

NEWS AND COMMENT - HARBIN, NORTHERN CHINA: This is the first time that a government agency has killed domestic cats because they'd contracted Covid-19. Or at least it is the first time that such an action has been reported in the online news media. 

This is unrelated to the story except that it is in China. Pictures in public domain. Image by MikeB.

Ironically, the owner of the three cats tested positive for Covid on September 21 and went into isolation after leaving food and water out for her cats. Therefore, there is a strong suggestion that she gave her cats the virus. And further in a rather bizarre twist, the cats were euthanized because they might spread the disease to people and there is no treatment for Covid in cats.

Update: Some sites give Miss Liu the title Mrs. They say her cats were killed while she was in hospital. 

That's the reason given by the authorities in Harbin, northern China. And yet, all the experts say that it is unlikely that cats can transmit Covid to people. Personally, I argue that they can transmit Covid to people because the disease is zoonotic and therefore it travels between animals and people and vice versa but it is going to be rare and isolation steps can be taken. Notwithstanding that there have been no known cases of transmission of the disease from cats to people.

And, further, all the cases of domestic cat contracting the disease have shown that symptoms in domestic are mild and they resolve without treatment. That is the status regarding cats and Covid. Once again, notwithstanding this open information, which must've been known to the Harbin authorities, they decided to kill the cats.

"I never wanted to blame anyone, I just wanted to find them a chance to stay alive, but that chance was never given." - Mrs Liu.

The owner's name is Miss Liu and she appealed online to save the cats but her plea was ignored. The owner and cats live in an apartment complex. A community worker tested the cats for coronavirus twice and on each occasion the result was positive.

Shen Yi, a professor at Shanghai-based Fudan University said:

"From the perspective of public health crisis management and control, euthanizing the three cats is a decisive measure to minimize negative effects and avoid worst results."

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Authorities in China are threatening to cull domestic cats and dogs in coronavirus scare.

The story was original reported by Beijing News online. I have searched the website and I can't find it. I wanted to find it because it is said that the article drew 52,000 comments; an extraordinary number and I wanted to see what the citizens of China thought about the killing of the three cats. I will have to guess: they hated it. They felt that it was unfair and unreasonable. They could have been put into quarantine and then retested. To kill them callously is an indication of the low value that they placed on domestic cats. People who like cats will be upset by the story.

ASSOCIATED: City of Shenzhen, China prepares to ban cat and dog meat

Early on in the pandemic there was a spate of domestic cat killings by their owners. On occasion cats and dogs were thrown out of high-rise apartments because panic developed among the citizens of China. There are many great cat caregivers in China, probably hundreds of millions of, but they have the stain of the cat and dog meat markets in the south of the country. That stain overrides everything I say with respect to the human-to-cat relationship in China. As long as they brutally kill cats to eat them you can never claim that the citizens of China love their cats.

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