Did you know that your pet cat might play a role in spreading a virus called SARS-CoV-2? This is the virus that causes the disease we know as COVID-19.
A recent study has shown that cats can catch the virus and spread it to other cats and even their surroundings.
This means the places where your cat lives, like its bed or play area, could become infectious.
How the Study Worked
A team of researchers, led by Dr. Wim van der Poel, carried out a study to understand this better. They exposed 16 cats to the virus in different ways.
Some cats were directly exposed to the virus, some got it from another cat, and some were exposed to the virus from a place where an infected cat had been.
The scientists took samples from the cats and their surroundings over three weeks. They tested these samples for the virus.
They also checked if the cats had developed antibodies to the virus in their blood. Antibodies are the body’s way of fighting off infections.
What They Found Out
The researchers found that cats can catch the SARS-CoV-2 virus and spread it to other cats and to their surroundings.
They found that the virus could stay infectious in the places where cats had been, but this didn’t last for long.
Dr. van der Poel said, “SARS-CoV-2 transmission between cats is efficient and can be sustained.” This means that if a cat gets the virus, it could easily spread it to other cats.
The cats were infectious for about one-third of a day on average. During this time, they found the virus in the cats’ saliva, nasal fluid, and feces.
The researchers were very careful during this study. They didn’t allow humans to be near the cats that were infectious. The people who looked after the cats always wore full protective clothing.
Dr. van der Poel pointed out that it’s possible for cat owners to catch the virus from their cats. This is because cats with the virus can spread it around them.
The scientists are planning to do more studies. They want to find out if other animals can catch and spread the virus too.
They are also interested in understanding more about how the virus spreads. They want to help us understand the risks and how to keep ourselves and our pets safe.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about the best time to take high blood pressure drugs, and results showing this nasal spray lowers COVID-19 infection by over half.
The study was published in Microbiology Spectrum.
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