Human treatments for Covid that remain unused are to be made available for the treatment of cats who are increasingly dying from cat covid or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), the cabinet announced on Thursday.

The approval was given following a recommendation by the agriculture ministry, which carried out an investigation into the feline deaths “which have greatly increased this year”, the cabinet said.

“Stocks of preparations that were used to treat human cases of coronavirus and are no longer used can be made available,” an announcement from the presidential palace said after the meeting.

The distribution of the medicines will be done on a case-by-case basis to cat owners at regional veterinary offices based on a prescription issued by a vet.

“Feline infectious peritonitis is not contagious to humans,” the announcement added.

Last month, the British Veterinary Association (BVA), posted a statement on its website, calling on UK visitors to the island to take precautions against cat covid.

Anyone travelling to Cyprus for a holiday should avoid touching cats and make sure to clean the soles of their shoes and suitcase wheels before leaving the island to avoid inadvertently bringing the virus into the UK, BVA senior vice president Justine Shotton recommended.

According to the recommendation cats imported from Cyprus to the UK should also be tested for the virus before travel and not be removed if they test positive.

Earlier in the month, local authorities downplayed as sensational international media reports of 300,000 cats having died from FIP on the island.

The source for the astounding claim was vice president of the NGO Voice for Animals, Dinos Agiomammitis, who said that his words had been lost in translation.

He explained that there is a very rough and hypothetical estimate that there are 1 million cats on the island. Extrapolating from there, if a mortality rate of 20-30 per cent of infected animals dying is applied, the resulting number is 300,000, he told CyBC’s morning programme.

But the director of the Veterinary Services Charalmbos Pipis responded that they cannot confirm the number of 300,000 dead cats from feline infectious peritonitis.

Calling the reports “baseless” the veterinary association stated that an estimated 8,000 clinical cases had been reported since January.