Cats Can Get Infected With COVID-19, Study Suggests
After the first human-to-cat transmission of COVID-19 in Belgium, an experiment was conducted in China which suggests that cats can get infected.
According to a study conducted in China, cats can get infected with COVID-19 and also have the tendency to transmit it to other cats. If an infected cat is exposed to a healthy one, chances are that the healthy one may get sick. The study was conducted at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute located in China.
The study was carried out after a cat was reported sick in Belgium. It had been showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and probably got infected by its owner, who was tested positive. The cat started showing symptoms of COVID-19 which were diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory issues. However, the cat did recover within nine days. Since it was the first human-to-cat transmission of virus, it laid the basis for the study conducted recently.
The lab experiment had chosen five cats for the study. Three were given a dose of the virus and put in a cage next to healthy cats. One of the cats exposed to the infected one started showing symptoms which led to the conclusion that cats are susceptible to COVID-19. It also suggested that the transmission took place through respiratory droplets.
The research paper also mentioned:
“Surveillance for Sars-CoV-2 in cats should be considered as an adjunct to elimination of COVID-19 in humans,”
This research, along with the first human-to-cat transmission, leads us to believe that cats and possibly other animals can get infected with COVID-19. This means that we need to be careful while handling and interacting with our pets. Washing your hands before and after any interaction may reduce the risk of infection being transmitted.
We need to be more responsible and attentive during these challenging times. This may help in controlling the pandemic too even though cats and other animals, excluding wildlife, are not the sole reason behind the spread of COVID-19.
Prof Eric Fèvre, chair of veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Liverpool, said:
“People should take usual precautions of handwashing when handling their pets, and avoid overly intimate contact, especially if sick with COVID. It is important to add that this says nothing about how the virus coming out of a cat may or may not be infectious to humans.”