Can cats get corona and pass the virus on? To this end, scientists have infected domestic cats with SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory experiment. That is what the new findings mean for pet owners.
A team of researchers from Japan and the United States has investigated how cats react to the novel corona virus. The results of the study were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to this, domestic cats can easily become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. But you don’t always notice that in the animals. In the experiment, domestic cats showed no signs of Covid-19 disease despite corona infection.
Laboratory experiment: Coronavirus can affect cats
In a laboratory experiment, the scientists infected three cats with a high dose of coronaviruses. The pathogens came from a human patient. They put the virus directly in the eyes, nostrils, mouth and trachea of the animals. An infected cat and an uninfected cat were then placed in the same cage. The animals shared the same food and water.
After just one day, two of the three previously healthy cats became positive SARS-CoV-2 tested. Three days later, all three cats had corona. Further nasal swabs showed that the animals were positive for about five days after their first test. According to the study authors, this means that the cats were likely to have been infectious for five days – that is, able to transmit the virus to others.
The main findings of the study
- The cats were able to isolate themselves from humans Corona virus Connect SARS-CoV-2.
- The cats showed no symptoms at any time despite corona infection. All showed normal behavior.
- The cats were able to transmit the virus to other cats.
- This means that domestic cats can apparently become infected with the virus if they run into infected people or other cats.
Pet owners should now take this into account
So far, there is no evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted from cats to humans. The greatest risk of infection is still contact with other people. According to the study authors, the possibility of an infection should be considered in any case.
The World Health Organization (WHO) therefore recommends the following precautions:
- People who show symptoms of Covid 19 or who have tested positive should limit or even avoid contact with pets.
- Hygiene rules should always be followed when handling pets. This includes washing hands after contact with the animals and their feed.
- Pet owners should also have a supply of pet food, bedding, and possibly medication at home.
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