In a study published in the journal Emerging Microbes & Infections, researchers have documented swab and blood samples taken from 102 cats in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. Based on the tests done on the felines from January to March 2020, 15 out of the 102 got infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus as evidenced by antibodies in their blood. The study also shows that there is no evidence that the infected animal can pass the virus on to people. However, individuals may pass the virus on to cats as there are indications that the cats owned by Covid-19 positive patients had particularly high levels of antibodies.
Phys.org: While there is currently no evidence for cat-to-human transmission, precautions should be considered.
According to Phys.org researchers from Huazhong Agricultural University, in the Chinese city, took blood samples from 102 cats between January and March 2020, following the first outbreak. Nasal and anal swabs were also collected.
In the journal Emerging Microbes & Infections, they show COVID-19 antibodies present in 15 of the blood samples taken from the cats. Of these, 11 cats had neutralizing antibodies—proteins that bind so successfully to a virus they block the infection.
None of the cats actually tested positive for COVID-19 or displayed obvious symptoms and, according to the results of return visits, none of these felines have died.
Commenting on the findings, lead author Meilin Jin states that whilst there is currently no evidence for cat-to-human transmission, precautions should be considered.