By Madeline Farber
Published February 14, 2020
As the deadly coronavirus outbreak continues to ravage the country, pet owners in China are putting makeshift masks on their furry friends.
Photos on the Chinese social media app Weibo show pets – namely cats – wearing the makeshift masks, many of them made from traditional surgical masks. Owners are cutting holes in the material to accommodate the animal’s eyes while the rest of their face remains covered.
The photos of the new trend surfaced after China's National Health Commission said the coronavirus could affect cats and dogs, The Sun reported. But is it true pets can catch the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19?
It’s not likely — according to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Coronaviruses occur in virtually every species of animal, including humans, and are commonly associated with unapparent or transient intestinal and respiratory infections. They tend to be very species-specific and cross-species transmission is uncommon,” the school said on its website earlier this month.
The same appears to be true for dogs. Even though canines can contract certain coronaviruses, according to the American Kennel Association “at present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus,” the World Health Organization (WHO) recently said.
What’s more, there’s little evidence that surgical masks do much good in protecting humans for spreading or acquiring illnesses, an infectious disease doctor previously told Fox News. Surgical masks, which cover the nose and mouth, are often made from a flimsy material and aren’t fitted to the face. Spaces and gaps can form around the cheeks and edges of the mouth, making it easy for air to move in and out.