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New research shows cats can catch Coronavirus but are unlikely to pass it on

Researchers in China have found that both cats and ferrets can contract the Coronavirus but it appears to be much harder for dogs to catch the disease.

By Natasha James

Published on the 02/04/2020, 18:00

New studies on pets and Coronavirus

Experts have been studying the effects of the Coronavirus on animals and new research seems to suggest that cats and ferrets can catch the virus and even spread it on to other animals via respiratory droplet transmission.

But, important news for cat lovers: the tests also noted that there's no evidence that felines can pass the disease onto humans.

Pets have contracted the virus

The studies were carried out after series of isolated incidents illustrated that pets across the world (including a Pomeranian in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium) were suffering from the virus. All of whom caught the illness from their owners.

The tests seem to show that chickens, ducks and pigs are not susceptible and dogs are less likely to catch the disease from their humans.

According to the study, the researchers used five cats and five dogs and exposed them to the virus. Of the five, four of the cats contracted the virus but were found to have produced antibodies against the virus and showed no symptoms. And, of the five dogs tested, two contracted the disease, suggesting it may be more difficult for them to catch the disease.

Pet owners don't need worry

Virologist Linda Saif who carried out the study added that there was no evidence to suggest that cats produced enough of the virus to pass it along to humans.

The study is not meant to alarm pet owners and indeed shows that the focus must be on reducing human-to-human transmission.

Indeed, the findings of the study were based on a small number of animals being deliberately exposed to high doses of the virus in an artificial setting. We can therefore not take them to be real evidence that animals play a role in the transmission of the virus.

Our advice is to stay home, stay safe and take care of your pets as normal.

Want more information on your pets and the Coronavirus? Check out our Coronavirus advice pages that are regularly updated.