A Mexican designer has started cranking out “anti-Covid-19” masks for cats. Along with serving as a shield to help deter the spread of the illness from cat to cat, Nestor Ortega says his creations are “an accessory [that] serves to remind us that we are going through a very difficult situation and that we have to protect ourselves.”
Ortega lives in the city of Xalapa in the state of Veracruz, which, as of Aug. 11, had the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 cases (24,443) in Mexico.
“The disease has affected us a lot and the economic resources of the state that should reach the neediest people are slow in coming,” he said.
Beyond its toll on humans, the coronavirus appears to also be infecting such pets as dog and cats—albeit relatively rarely. According to a recent report from the American Medical Veterinary Association, fewer than 20 pets have tested positive for the coronavirus. Meantime, the OIE-World Organization for Animal Health is reporting that laboratory experiments have shown cats can transmit the infection to other cats, but not to humans.
How did Ortega come up with the idea for the cat-shield? “My sister-in-law asked me for a mask as an accessory for her cat,” said the 42-year-old Ortega, a 15-year-veteran in the graphic design/advertising field. “So I started designing different models in two sizes, for big cats and small cats.”
The masks, which take Ortega about 40 minutes each to make, are actually clear plastic shields that cover cats’ full faces. Some are clear and others bear cut-out images from “Star Wars,” “Hello Kitty,” “Felix the Cat” and other cat-related creations. He’s selling them between $2-$2.50 (45-55 pesos).
Creating such shields came naturally to Ortega, a cat lover whose family is currently raising three kittens. “They are not only pets, they are part of my family.”
(Edited by Matt Hall and Stephen Gugliociello)