The Paws-ible Effects of COVID-19 on Animals

COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on people around the world and the animals that surround them. As with humans, the living creatures of the world have found themselves suffering from the consequences of the coronavirus. However, as a variety of these creatures are thrown into a difficult situation, many others benefit from the opportunities this virus has created. Whether living inside with their owners or out in the forest on their own, every animal has had their life altered by this pandemic.

One of the five tigers diagnosed with COVID-19 | Photo Courtesy of the New York Times

Coronavirus originated in animals, but only appeared to show harmful symptoms in the humans that acquired it. As it spread throughout the countries of the world, it seemed as though animals were immune to the flu-like effects of the virus. However, recent tests have shown that this is not the case. The Bronx Zoo in New York recently reported that eight of their big cats have tested positive for COVID-19. Four of the five infected tigers showed respiratory symptoms in early April which encouraged the zookeepers to test each of the large cats. According to the Bronx Zoo,  an asymptomatically infected staff member working in the zoo transmitted the disease to the animals. 

In addition to these eight felines, two pet cats in New York also tested positive for the virus. The cats living on opposite sides of the state showed similar symptoms to the lions and tigers in the zoo. The positive tests of these ten animals have encouraged new research suggesting that cats can receive the virus from humans and transmit it  to other felines. Although it seems felines can transmit the virus to one another, there is no current evidence to prove that they can infect humans.

Jackals roaming around Hayarkon Park | Photo Courtesy of

Although some animals are experiencing the same painful symptoms as humans, many others are thriving. The lockdown has forced people to minimize their contact with the outside world and therefore stay away from large habitats that house various wild animals. As national parks are visited less and less each day, wildlife has been able to roam freely without the fear of people passing by. A report from the Washington Post reveals the recent revival of jackals in Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, buffalo in the streets of India, and goats sauntering through the Welsh town of Llandudno.

“For centuries, humans have pushed wildlife into smaller and smaller corners of the planet. But now, with billions in isolation and city streets emptied, nature is pushing back,” Washington Post reporter, Terrence McCoy said.

A few recently fostered animals | Photo Courtesy of

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the animals roaming around each country and the ones enjoying their time inside a comforting home. The lockdown has supplied many pets at home with more belly rubs and long walks to the park each day and has even encouraged many pet-less citizens to open up their home for an abandoned animal or two. In the second half of March 2020, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has seen a 70 percent increase in the number of animals going into foster care since the same time last year. It seems that during this time of self-isolation, people around the world are relying on their furry friends to keep them company.

Although many more animals are finding new homes, numerous pets are also being kicked out of theirs. The World Veterinary Association has recently reported that since the arrival of COVID-19, the number of abandoned pets has increased by 25 percent. Economically, many citizens could not afford to constantly buy food and other resources for their pets during a time when they may be spending more than usual or are out of work and therefore are not receiving a salary. For many people in this situation, it may have felt like abandoning their family pet was the only logical option.

The coronavirus outbreak impaired the lives of many animals, and of course people, around the globe. As the lives of animals change day by day, a multitude of them begin to find new roads to happiness. This pandemic has changed the lives of animals everywhere and just like humans, animals seem to be surrounded by the effects of this virus no matter where they go.

Written by Roxy Hudson

Roxy Hudson is Co-Editor-in-Chief for the MCSun, and is going on her third full year of writing with the Sun Staff. She is a Senior runner for the Varsity Cross Country and Track Team and a member of MC's Varsity Soccer Team. When she is not spending her time running in circles on the track, Roxy is usually chilling on the couch with her two adorable chocolate labs or whipping up a tasty dish in the kitchen.

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