Mrs Lui had left her three pet cats at home with food and water when she was admitted to hospital in north east China’s Harbin province
A woman who was in hospital for coronavirus has had her three cats put down after they reportedly tested positive too.
Mrs Lui had left her three pet cats at home with food and water when she was admitted to hospital in north east China’s Harbin province.
They were being cared for by community workers, who had the cats tested for the virus, despite showing no signs of the disease.
While in hospital Mrs Lui was told all three cats tested positive and the community workers asked her for permission for the cats to be put to sleep
She said no, but the next day all three cats were euthanised.
Mrs Lui told the Beijing News: “Because there was no prior example of treating the cats, they want to euthanise the cats and wanted me to give them a written authorisation, I did not agree.”
She added that the cats were unwell but she was willing to seek treatment if they needed it.
The community worker told the newspaper there was no professional treatment available for animals, adding that they needed to get rid of the virus so Mrs Lui could return home.
“If the environment is positive, then she cannot move back and the whole residential area could not move back, the outbreak will never end,” the worker said.
Taking to Weibo, a popular social media site in China, Mrs Lui said: “I never wanted to blame anyone, I just wanted to find them a chance to stay alive, but that chance was never given.”
The current round of local outbreaks in Harbin started last week with 67 confirmed cases so far, as city-wide testing gets underway.
Since the pandemic first broke out last year, there has been international debate about whether pets can catch the virus and if they pose danger to humans.
There has been significant concern from animal welfare groups that owners would dump or kill their pets in fear of spreading the virus.
Last year, Hong Kong government veterinary experts who observed and tested 52 animals under quarantine concluded pets do not play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus.
The veterinarians at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department tested 32 dogs, 18 cats and two hamsters quarantined for varying periods since February, only two dogs and one cat tested positive for the virus.
They concluded that pets do not get infected easily, and do not transmit the virus to other pets or humans.
Back in July last year a pet cat was infected with coronavirus in the only known case of its kind in the UK.
The Covid-19 virus was detected in the animal following tests by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Weybridge, Surrey.
The cat and its owners – who live in England but are being kept anonymous – have made a full recovery.
It is the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the UK, after a small number of others in Europe, North America and Asia.
The government said there was no evidence to suggest the animal transmitted the disease to its owners.
Instead a government spokesman said: “All available evidence suggests that the cat contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had previously tested positive for COVID-19.
“The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household.”