Expert on coronavirus studies, Peter Halfmann along with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in the United States conducted a lab test on infecting cats with coronavirus and the findings of the result were published on May 13. Accordingly, it was found that coronavirus can spread from one cat to the other even when they do not show any symptoms.
Three cats were infected with coronavirus extracted from a human patient. Each cat was kept with another that did not have any infection. In five days, all three cats without infection were found to have contracted coronavirus, but they did not show any signs of it.
Thus the study concluded that coronavirus can spread from cats to other cats. But no study yet has proved that coronavirus can be contracted from animal to human or from human to animals. The scientists who led the lab test study on cats said that they need to conduct deeper research into if the virus can spread from people to cats and then to people again.
However, the American Veterinary Medical Association said that the test was conducted under lab injected infection. It does not mean that the cats can be infected with the same virus under natural conditions.
What does the expert say
Expert Peter Halfmann says that it is a matter of common sense hygiene. "Don't kiss your pets and keep surfaces clean to cut the chances of picking up any virus an animal might shed," he said.
But the concern that the study puts forth is that the cats that were infected did not show any signs or symptoms of coronavirus including coughing, sneezing, or losing weight. There was not much difference in the body temperature too. Thus, generally, the cats looked healthy and the owners of these cats did not have any way of testing if the cats had contracted coronavirus.
Animals tested positive for COVID-19
In April, two cats were reported to have contracted coronavirus and had shown mild breathlessness in New York. A tiger at New York's Bronx Zoo also tested positive for COVID-19 in April. Winston, the pug in North Carolina with mild symptoms was found to have COVID-19 when he was tested as a part of a study that his adoptive family was participating in.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chances of spreading coronavirus from animals to humans is very low. Even though the chances of the animal to human contraction of COVID-19 are less, it is better to wash hands after touching pets and till further studies reveal results it is better to stay away from kissing pets including cats, says the expert.