A veterinarian in New York caught a rare strain of bird flu from a sick cat, according to the city’s public health department. 

While cats have contracted the bird flu virus before, Thursday’s announcement marks the first time when the H7N2 viral strain was transmitted from infected cats to humans.

Health officials believe the veterinarian may have gotten the virus from a frail, 12-year-old cat that was taken to the animal shelter. They suspect that it may have come in contact with a sick pigeon or another cat that already had the infection.

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