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Cats can transfer coronavirus to other cats, study says. So what about humans?

A new study suggests cats can send COVID-19 to other cats

FILE - In this Friday, May 8, 2020 file photo, the owner of a cat cafe checks the temperature of one of her cats in Bangkok, Thailand. According to a study published on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, cats can spread the new coronavirus to each other without any of them ever having any symptoms. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
FILE - In this Friday, May 8, 2020 file photo, the owner of a cat cafe checks the temperature of one of her cats in Bangkok, Thailand. According to a study published on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, cats can spread the new coronavirus to each other without any of them ever having any symptoms. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
AP

A new study suggests that cats can get infected with the novel coronavirus and give it to other cats. So what about humans? There’s no evidence yet.

What’s going on:

  • University of Tokyo and University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine researchers found cats “can readily become infected” with COVID-19, receiving the virus from humans and other cats, according to USA Today.
  • For the study — which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine — researchers infected three cats with the virus, which had been taken from a human.
  • Two of the three cats tested positive for COVID-19 the following day. A new cat was added to the cages on the second day. One day later, all three cats that were initially infected tested positive. Six days later, all of the cats had the coronavirus — even if they didn’t receive it from the researchers.
  • “Crucially, none of the cats showed any signs of illness — and all recovered,” according to USA Today.

Why it matters:

  • “Given the need to stop the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic through various mechanisms ... a better understanding of the role cats may play in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans is needed,” the researchers wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Animals and coronavirus

  • The first two cats diagnosed with coronavirus came from New York, according to CNN. The two infected cats had respiratory symptoms. They made full recoveries. Cats and tigers from the Bronx Zoo tested positive, too.
  • Cats and other animals have been noted to receive the coronavirus from other animals and humans, according to American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • “At this point in time, there is no evidence to suggest that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, that may be incidentally infected by humans play a role in the spread of COVID-19.”