WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Two cats have tested positive for Covid in the UK.
- One of the cats suffered breathing problems and later died.
- The cats contracted the virus from their owners.
Fear of a pet pandemic is arising after a study has found that cats have caught Covid from their UK owners.
A study has found that two cats in the UK have been infected with the coronavirus, including a four-month-old ragdoll kitten who later died after experiencing breathing problems.
The other cat, a six-year-old female Siamese, had a runny nose and sore eyes. It was taken to the vet where it was diagnosed with Covid but survived.
Researchers think there may be more cases of Covid in cats, and they fear that the virus could spread among the UK cat population and jump back to humans.
According to Prof Margaret Hosie, of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, the two cases show the importance of having a deeper understanding of Covid infection in animals. Hosie says that animal-to-human transmission of the coronavirus poses a relatively low risk to public health, even in areas where transmission among humans is still high.
“However, as human cases decrease, the prospect of transmission among animals becomes increasingly important as a potential source of Covid reintroduction to humans. It is important to improve our understanding of whether exposed animals could play any role in transmission,” she added.
The cats contracted the coronavirus in March and April 2020.
KITTEN SUFFERED LUNG SCARRING AFTER CATCHING COVID
In the post-mortem examination of the kitten, it was found that it suffered the same lung scarring seen in humans with Covid.
Further tests found that the Covid strain contracted by the cats was identical to their owners, and was not mutated in the animals.
Prof James Wood, University of Cambridge’s head of veterinary medicine, reminded pet owners to separate themselves from their animals when they are sick.
Eleanor Riley, professor of infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, cautioned that both domesticated and free-living animals are potential carriers of the virus, which can mutate and re-emerge in humans.
In July last year, a domestic cat in the UK contracted the virus from its owner. Both the cat and its owner recovered from the virus.
In other parts of the world, Covid was found in wild cats and dogs. Last year, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo has contracted the virus, while a pet dog owned by a virus patient in Hong Kong also contracted the virus. Ferrets and hamsters have also been found to be at risk.
Source: The U.S Sun