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A pet cat has become the first British animal to be infected with coronavirus, health officials said Monday, AFP reported.

The case was confirmed by the UK's chief veterinary officer after laboratory tests carried out earlier this month in Surrey, near London.

Officials said that "all available evidence" indicated the cat likely contracted the disease from its owners who had tested positive for COVID-19.

A statement from the environment ministry said the cat poses no risk.

"Although this is the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the UK, there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease," it said, according to AFP.

The cat was initially diagnosed by a private vet as having the feline herpes virus but the sample was also subsequently tested for COVID-19 and proved positive.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss called it "a very rare event", adding that there was "no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans".

There have been other cases in the world of animals contracting COVID-19. In April, two pet cats in New York state tested positive for the coronavirus and were thought to have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighborhoods.

Earlier that month, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for coronavirus, in what was believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the US or a tiger anywhere.

The tiger is believed to have been infected by a zoo employee.