The first pets in the United States to be identified as having the coronavirus are in separate parts of New York State. 

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Ironically, the pets that have been identified as having COVID-19 are the species most closely identified with social distancing. According to an Associated Press report, two cats suffered mild respiratory illness and were tested at veterinary facilities.  

The felines are believed to have contracted the virus from their humans or in their neighborhoods.

Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory say these cases and the infection of a tiger at the Bronx Zoo shows animals apparently can get the virus from people but there’s no sign of transmission the other way around. More studies are said to be needed.

The C.D.C. is recommending people do not let their pets interact with people or other animals outside the household, keep cats indoors, walk dogs on a leash and maintain at least six feet from other people and animals and skip dog parks for now.