New Study Finds That Cats Can Catch Coronavirus
This comes after a tiger at a zoo in New York tested positive for the virus last week.
The study, which was published in the journal Science, found that it's not just cats, but also ferrets, that can become infected by SARS-CoV-2 - which is the infection that causes the Covid-19 disease.
However, they also discovered that dogs, chickens, and pigs are unlikely to catch the virus.
The point of this whole endeavour is to find out which animals are vulnerable to the virus so that they can be used to test vaccines that could be used to fight this global pandemic.
So far, more than 83,000 people have died worldwide as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China at the end of last year.
Some scientists think that SARS-CoV-2 was first transmitted to humans from bats, and barring a few cases of infection in cats and dogs, there hasn't been a lot of evidence found that pets can be carriers of the virus.
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However, they did find that cats can infect one another through respiratory transmission.
The authors of the study wrote: "Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in cats should be considered as an adjunct to elimination of COVID-19 in humans."
In cats, the virus shows symptoms in the mouth, nose, and small intestine. In ferrets, the virus got into their upper respiratory tract but didn't cause serious cases of disease.
There's worse news for kittens, however. They suffered large lesions in their lungs, nose, and throat.
Daniel Kuritzkes, the head of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told Reuters: "It's both interesting and not terribly surprising in the sense that with the original SARS epidemic, civet cats were implicated as one of the vectors that may have transmitted virus to humans.
"What these data do provide is support for the recommendation that people who are with COVID-19 should be distancing themselves, not only from other household members but also from their household pets, so as not to transmit the virus to their pets, particularly to cats or other felines."
The WHO has also announced on Wednesday that it is working with partners to analyse the role of pets in this ongoing world health crisis.
Featured Image Credit: PA