During the pandemic in the UK, researchers have discovered human-to-cat transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, with infected cats displaying mild to severe respiratory disease.
The study provides new evidence that people in the UK transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to cats during the pandemic.
The virus was discovered last year in cats with mild or severe respiratory disease, according to the study, which was published in Veterinary Record.
Two domestic cats from households with suspected cases of Covid-19 were infected with SARS-CoV-2, according to investigators who used a variety of laboratory techniques.
“Given the ability of the coronavirus to infect companion animals, it will be important to monitor for human-to-cat, cat-to-cat and cat-to-human transmission,” Margaret Hosie of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, the study’s lead author, said.
Humans, followed by ferrets and, to a lesser extent, cats, civets, and dogs, are the most susceptible animals to SARS-CoV-2, according to a recent study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.
“Knowing which animals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 helps us prevent building up animal reservoirs from which the coronavirus can re-emerge at a later date,” said study author Luis Serrano from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Spain.
In the first case involving a pet, a kitten was found to be positive for the Covid-19 virus in South Korea in January of this year at a religious facility in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province.
The virus is thought to have been passed down to the cat from the mother and daughter, who have both tested positive for Covid-19.
There are reports of pets catching the virus from their owners in Japan, Hong Kong, and Brazil.