Cats Can Catch Coronavirus, WHO to Investigate.
Cats can become infected with the new coronavirus but dogs appear not to be vulnerable, according to a study published on Wednesday, prompting the WHO to say it will take a closer look at transmission of the virus between humans and pets.
The study, published on the website of the journal Science, found that ferrets can also become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the scientific term for the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
Dogs, chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus, however, the researchers found.
Nadia, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City who developed a dry cough and loss of appetite after contact with an infected zookeeper tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
Nadia a 4-year-old Malayan tiger contract covid-19 — the first confirmed case of a wild or domesticated cat to come down with the disease. Her unlikely infection raised questions about whether humans can pass the coronavirus to their house pets. Zookeepers think Nadia got it from an infected human who was asymptomatic. In an interview Tuesday, Paul Calle, the zoo’s chief veterinarian, said they have no idea which human on the staff might have done it. “No one who has worked with these cats has been tested and is positive,” Calle said.
The study, based on research conducted in China in January and February, found cats and ferrets highly susceptible to the virus when researchers attempted to infect the animals by introducing viral particles via the nose.
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it is working with its partners to look more closely at the role of pets in the health crisis.
Based on the evidence so far, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a news conference: "We don't believe that they are playing a role in transmission but we think that they may be able to be infected from an infected person."