In a worrying development for pet cats worldwide, two domestic felines have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States.

In a statement released overnight, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said two pet cats had tested positive for the virus in New York State, one of the hardest-hit territories in the country.

Both cats live in separate corners of the state.

The first was tested after displaying minor respiratory difficulties, but no human members of its household have tested positive for the virus.

“The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home,” the CDC stated.

The second cat displayed similar respiratory difficulties, but its owner had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the kitty falling ill.

The good news is both cats are expected to make a full recovery – and, despite the fact that cats have been diagnosed positive, there’s no evidence in the US to suggest companion animals are exacerbating the pandemic among humans.

“Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States,” the organisation said.

“Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.

“Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including pets, could be affected.”

Until we know more about what’s going on, the CDC has recommended anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 avoid direct contact with their pet, wear a mask around them, and wash hands before and after any interactions with ’em.

Earlier, a tiger at a New York City zoo tested positive for the virus after encountering an asymptomatic zookeeper, suggesting felines big and small have copped a raw deal in all of this, too.

Take care out there, all you cool cats and kittens.

Image: Sergei Karpukhin / Getty Images