State officials in Iowa have confirmed a case of H1N1 in a cat, the first known instance of a cat contracting the virus from people.
The 13-year-old indoor cat tested positive at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, the Iowa Department of Public Health said Wednesday in a news release.
Dr. Ann Garvey, a veterinarian with the health department, said two of three members of the family that owns the cat had flu-like illnesses before the cat got sick.
"This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past," Garvey said in a statement.
The cat and its owners have recovered from the flu.
Health and agriculture officials in Iowa said it's important to protect pets from the illness in the same way people protect each other -- washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and minimizing contact with others when they're sick.
"Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk, and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren't showing signs of illness," Iowa's State Veterinarian Dr. David Schmitt said.
The American Veterinary Medical Association said it is monitoring cases of H1N1 in animals and is posting updates on its Web site.