Cats without any symptoms can spread coronavirus to other cats, study finds

Cats without any symptoms can spread coronavirus to other cats, study finds

A study published Wednesday finds that cats can get infected by coronavirus and transmit it to other cats — but there's no evidence they can spread the infection to humans.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo and the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine found that our feline friends "can readily become infected" with coronavirus from humans and other cats.

In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers administered the virus — which they had isolated from a human patient — to three cats, all in separate cages.

The next day, two of the three cats tested positive. They also placed a new cat in each of the separate cages on the second day.

'We don't want people to panic':2 cats test positive for coronavirus; officials recommend precautions for pets

In three days, all three cats initially inoculated with the virus tested positive. In six days, all six cats — whether or not they were given the virus — were shedding coronavirus.

Crucially, none of the cats showed any signs of illness — and all recovered.

“That was a major finding for us — the cats did not have symptoms,” said Yoshihiro Kawaoka, the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine professor who led the study, in a statement.

There is no evidence that cats can infect humans with coronavirus.

Still, researchers involved with the study advise staying cautious around animals if you are infected with COVID-19. Two cats in New York — and a dog in North Carolina — tested positive for coronavirus. One of the cats and the dog both lived with humans who were confirmed carriers of coronavirus.

Winston the pug:A North Carolina pug tested positive for coronavirus, possibly the first dog in the U.S.

“It’s something for people to keep in mind,” said Peter Halfmann, a research professor at University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine, in a statement.

“If they are quarantined in their house and are worried about passing COVID-19 to children and spouses, they should also worry about giving it to their animals.”

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote


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