Cats can also get Infected with SARS-CoV-2 and Transmit it to Other Cats

Image by Good Housekeeping

Under the light of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, new reports made by scientists in the U.S and Japan tell that cats are not excluded from the deadly Covid-19 infection, the virus that causes the illness is called SARS-CoV-2 and can be passed from one cat to another.

Under the study, three cats were gathered and SARS-CoV-2 was administered to them which were previously acquired from a human patient. The study led by Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at the University Of Wisconsin School Of Veterinary Medicine Yoshihiro Kawaoka found after swabbing the nasal passages of the subjects, the following day, that two of them had acquired the virus. In under three days, it was found that all the cats enrolled in the study had been infected by the virus.

After administering the virus to the three cats, the researchers then added another cat to the testing cages. The three new cats were not administered the virus.

Daily the researchers then took swabs from the rectal and nasal regions of the six cats, to observe whether or not they had been infected by the virus. It took about two days on of the healthy cats were found infected by the virus and in the next six days, it was found that all cats were infected with the virus. Their rectal swabs didn’t have the virus, however.

Up to six days each cat in the study were found to shed the virus from their nasal passages. None of the subjects expressed any signs of any illness and it did not prove lethal for any of them.

An important finding as emphasized by Kawaoka is that cats did not exhibit any symptoms, Kawaoka also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Tokyo. A vaccine for COVID-19 named Coroflu is also coming about under leading efforts by Kawaoka. He concluded that coronavirus in cats could come from humans.

Under exposition to people and other cats who have the virus, cats can test positive for COVID-19. A study published in Science by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences presented evidence that ferrets besides cats could also be infected and could act as possible transmitters for the virus. Notably, the virus is known to transmit to humans through respiratory droplets or saliva.

Peter Halfmann, a research professor at UW–Madison who helped lead the study encourages people to understand that they can not only spread the virus to their spouses and children but also their beloved pets.

Researchers from both studies actively encourage people to keep their pets within their homes to limit contact with the virus and other potential people or cats who have it. It is also advised to stay away from animals if you display any symptoms for the novel coronavirus.

Kawaoka emphasizes his concern for the health of animals besides humans who are at risk of COVID-19. The World Organization for Animal Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they find no evidence to support taking any action against pets that may harm them.

No available evidence, however, supports the spread of coronavirus in cats to humans, so far only human to human transmission is found to happen. No cases have been reported where a person might have contracted the virus from a cat.

Animals should also be kept in mind for emergency preparations in the current uncertain conditions posed by the virus says Ruthanne Chun, associate dean for clinical affairs at UW Veterinary Care who also compels people to bear in mind that managing beloved pets in homes stricken with coronavirus sickness should find guidance from the American Veterinary Medical Association and CDC.


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