New research provides evidence that people have transmitted SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to cats during the pandemic in the UK. The study, which is published in Veterinary Record, detected the virus last year in cats that developed mild or severe respiratory disease.
Investigators used a range of laboratory techniques to show that two domestic cats from households with suspected cases of COVID-19 were infected with SARS-CoV-2.
“These findings indicate that human-to-cat transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, with the infected cats displaying mild or severe respiratory disease. Given the ability of the coronavirus to infect companion animals, it will be important to monitor for human-to-cat, cat-to-cat and cat-to-human transmission,” said lead author Margaret Hosie, PhD, of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.
Reference: “Detection of SARS‐CoV‐2 in respiratory samples from cats in the UK associated with human‐to‐cat transmission” by Margaret J. Hosie, Ilaria Epifano, Vanessa Herder, Richard J. Orton, Andrew Stevenson, Natasha Johnson, Emma MacDonald, Dawn Dunbar, Michael McDonald, Fiona Howie, Bryn Tennant, Darcy Herrity, Ana Da Silva Filipe, Daniel G. Streicker, the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, Brian J. Willett, Pablo R. Murcia, Ruth F. Jarrett, David L. Robertson and William Weir, 22 April 2021, Veterinary Record.