Realty Bites

How can I make sure my pet is taken care of if I'm hospitalized with Covid-19?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
April 6, 2020 - 2:30PM

You have some options for pet care, so now is the time to make a plan.


I live alone with my cat and have Covid-19 symptoms. What can I do to make sure my cat is cared for if I have to go to the hospital?

It is a very good idea to make an emergency plan for your pet now, which should include buying at least a two-week supply of pet food and supplies, creating a list of your pet’s medications with dosages, and finding trusted persons who can take care of your pet while you’re ill, according to guidance from Manhattan-based Animal Medical Center.

“If you are unable to care for your pet because you are sick or hospitalized, we recommend asking a family member or friend to help,” says Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of ASPCA. “We encourage all pet owners to identify two or more emergency caretakers to step in and assist with pet care obligations if that becomes necessary.” 

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The virus can remain in the air or on surfaces, so you should put your pet’s food, water, litter, and other supplies right inside your front door so your caretaker doesn’t have to come inside your apartment. If they do have to come all the way inside, the CDC recommends they wear proper protective gear.

According to the CDC, there have been no reported cases of house pets contracting Covid-19 in the U.S. However, a pet’s fur might be a vector for the virus, so a pet sitter should avoid petting your cat or dog.

What to do if you don’t have a friend, family member, or sitter who can step in right now 

If you are suspected or confirmed to have Covid-19, and are taking care of a pet, you should limit interaction (no cuddles, kisses, or hugs), wear a mask and gloves while feeding and taking care of your pet, and wash your hands before and after.

Veterinarians and boarding facilities are considered essential businesses and are open during the pandemic. So, if you don’t have anyone who can take care of your pet for you while you’re sick or in the hospital, call your regular boarding service and see if they are offering curbside pick-up for pets with sick owners.

You can post a request for help on the site Nextdoor, where many healthy New Yorkers available to help their neighbors during these trying times. If you live in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Cat Cafe is offering to provide emergency fostering for your pets (not just cats) while you are sick.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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