CAT SHOWS AND COVID-19. DON’T PANIC!
With the novel coronavirus-19 hitting the KwaZulu Natal province in the last two weeks, there are obvious concerns nationwide about public events, our animals and contagion. Let’s address some facts before we delve into how this affects our shows and our animals.
Firstly, COVID19 is a novel coronavirus much like the flu and not the same as feline coronavirus. From the CDC website: “A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
What is the source of the virus? “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. “
“The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person.”
Amid local and worldwide panic, pet owners have much concern over whether their animals can contract or spread COVID-19. According to the World Health Organisation “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals / pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus, however, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.”
“There were initial reports from the Government of Hong Kong that a dog had tested “weak positive” for COVID-19 after nasal and oral cavity samples were taken. The dog “ showed the presence of genetic material from the COVID-19 virus,” and that it was “not showing any clinical signs of the disease.”
Aurora Lambrecht from End FIP and the FIP Advisory Group explains, “Both the World Small Animal Veterinary Assocation (WSAVA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have given assurances that neither dogs nor cats will get sick with COVID-19 and said they are not carriers of the virus either, meaning they cannot make us sick. Coronaviruses are the largest family of viruses. They are also characterised by the fact that they are host-specific, meaning they infect closely related species only – and cats and humans are not that! FCov (Feline Coronavirus) belongs to the Coronaviradae species, subspecies alpha-coronavirus whereas COVID-19 is subspecies beta-coronavirus and this makes them genetically exclusionary. People cannot be infected by FCov and felines cannot be infected with COVID-19, or any other species specific coronavirus.
Feline Coronavirus is a virus of the gastrointestinal tract while COVID-19 is a respiratory infection. Mode of transmission and infection are dissimilar as well. FCov is via the faecal oral route while COVID-19 is via aerosol droplets and oronasal cavity.”
So with this in mind, there is no reason to believe AT PRESENT, that your animals will be able to get the virus and spread it to other humans. There is still a contact contamination risk with those animals exposed to or owned by COVID-19 sufferers, although the virus does not live very long outside of the body in the environment – studies have shown that it may live up to a few hours or few days on some SURFACES if not disinfected but this depends largely on the temperature, the kind of surface and the humidity index.
IS IT SAFE TO ENTER OR VISIT A CAT SHOW?
There is little reason to believe that in South Africa, there is any major risk out of the ordinary in visiting or entering a cat show. Cat shows are not usually large, crowded events. The important thing to remember is to practice good hygiene and limit contact with the cats. In China, Italy and other affected countries, cat shows have been cancelled due to the high risk of community spread and with many people travelling in and out of areas that may be affected by the virus. If you are unsure, however, rather err on the side of caution and avoid spending time in public.
In KwaZulu Natal, at the time of this article there have been eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 (6 in Gauteng), mostly resulting from travel outside of the country recently. It has been reported that patients have been self-isolated or treated in-hospital. Should the risk worsen in the Province, the Committee will likely make the call to close the cat show to the public. Should this occur, a notice will be posted on our website’s blog and relevant social media platforms and an email sent out to our mailing list.
HOW TO PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE WITH YOUR PETS AND AT A CAT SHOW & AT HOME
The same applies to if you have the common cold or flu or if you are visiting any cat show.
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. Disinfection with sanitisers are more effective if you wash your hands and surfaces first. Sanitisers and cleaners that have 70% alcohol or more, are most effective against the virus. Veterinary disinfectants are effective against removing various contagions in the environment.
- Before you enter the show hall, wash your hands. Use the bathroom and wash your hands upon arrival. At the entrance to the cat show, you can disinfect your hands at the gate.
- Avoid contact with the mouths/faces of your pets, people, and those of others. Don’t kiss your animals especially if you are sick. Don’t touch animals or people at the cat show. The look but don’t touch rule at shows is a long term hygiene precaution to prevent the spread of disease and germs.
- If you are sick, or have been in contact with someone who may have COVID 19, especially if you have respiratory symptoms or a fever, don’t visit public events. Rather stay home and rest or go to the hospital for treatment and testing.
- Do not visit a cat show or any public event if you have recently travelled from high risk countries such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, or been in contact with someone who has been travelling abroad, for the duration of the suspected incubation period which is 2 – 14 days.
- If you are an exhibitor, bath your cat the day before a show with a good anti-viral/anti-fungal/anti-bacterial shampoo. This will ensure your cat is relatively free of any contaminants and will create a barrier to protect your cat from germs they could pick up at a cat show. This is a normal, standard procedure.
- Exhibitors should also avoid allowing the public to touch their belongings such as show cages, cat toys and cats by putting some signs up around their benching area and also disinfect their own hands regularly throughout the day.
- Exhibitors should also wash and disinfect their clothes, show bedding, carriers, bags and show cages prior to and after a show.
- Exhibitors should not allow other cats to play with their cat’s teasers/toys.
WHAT WE DO TO LIMIT CONTRACTING GERMS AT OUR CAT SHOWS
- Prior to the show on the Saturday morning prior to benching, the hall is fogged with disinfectant to help reduce any germs in the environment.
- On the Sunday morning prior to arrival, the hall is fogged again, and exhibitors will be encouraged to spray their cages and change their cat’s bedding, as well as tidy up after their cats.
- Appropriate hand soap and hand sanitiser will be provided at the entrance to the show as well as in the bathrooms for everyone in attendance to use throughout the weekend. Please don’t take these home with you. There are already shortages.
- Judges and stewards will also be encouraged to take additional precautions to ensure their hands and areas are disinfected between cats.
- Judges are not to use cat teasers or toys that multiple cats may come into contact with at a show. Exhibitors may provide their own to the judge to use for their own cats.
- If exhibitors or stewards are handling other people’s cats, it is recommended to wash their hands and use an apron or protective clothing that is easily disinfected between handling different cats.
With all of this in mind, we hope that you will join us for the 3rd annual KZNCC Triple Cat Show as an exhibitor or visiting guest. For more information check out our Facebook event HERE and you can enter the show by visiting our SHOWS page to find out more and download entry forms. Entries will close on 14 March at midnight. Should you need assistance with registration or filling out forms, please contact our Show Manager at email@example.com or our Chair on firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAT SHOW TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Cat show exhibitors must abide by the CFSA Show Rules.
- Entries must be received by the Show Manager by midnight of the closing date published on the applicable official entry and summary forms.
- Entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Detail form, a completed Entry Summary form, each cat’s CFSA pedigree/registration, proof of ownership, up-to-date vaccination record, a membership form (if membership is applied for with the show entry), and PROOF OF PAYMENT.
- The Show Manager will not accept any entries that are not filled out in FULL and that are not accompanied by the documents outlined in point 3.
- The Show Manager will not accept “potential” entries. If you enter a cat into the show, you must pay for it’s entry upon submission. It is the exhibitor’s prerogative to withdraw entries to a show, however there will be no REFUNDS whatsoever paid to exhibitors for withdrawn entries for any reason.
- The Show Manager will not grant extensions for entries or payments under any circumstances. The onus is on the exhibitor to send in correct entry forms and enter on time.
- Each exhibitor must declare how many trestle tables they require for their exhibits in the provided space on the Summary Form. The KZNCC will not be held responsible if inadequate space has been allocated to your exhibits because you failed to declare the space you require.
- The KZN Cat Club, show administrators, volunteers, hired labour, judges, stewards, officials, exhibitors, vendors and sponsors, and any observers or participants assume no liability whatsoever for personal injuries, illness, death and injuries to animals, humans, or property damage that may arise from attendance and/or participation in KZNCC Cat Shows.
By entering and/or attending a show you automatically agree to the applicable terms herein.