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Cats can get COVID-19 and become ill

by Maxime Dubé - June 18, 2020   447 Views   3 min
Cats can get COVID-19 and become ill

Claim

Cats can contract COVID-19 but are asymptomatic.

Verdict

Accurate as a whole (with reservations)

An article published on 28 May 2020 on the Slate.fr website, states that cats can contract COVID-19 and infect other cats, without exhibiting any apparent symptoms of the disease. This statement is correct in its entirety, but with a reservation because it is wrong to say that cats are always asymptomatic.

A statement based on an experimental study of six cats

To reach its conclusion, the Slate.fr website analysed research published in The New England Journal of Medicine , which, in an experiment conducted on six cats, three infected and three healthy, determined that the healthy cats contracted the disease through contact with the infected cats.

It should be noted that the study was carried out over a prolonged contact of one day. It is possible that short-term contact greatly reduces the chances of transmission of the virus from one cat to another. For that reason, more studies are needed on the subject. The study also found that the cats in question exhibited no symptoms, hence the claim by Slate.fr that the cats were asymptomatic.

Cases of feline and animal infections around the world

The World Organization for Animal Health states on its website that since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has been found in cats, dogs and mink. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in some cases still poorly understood to date, cats and other pets have contracted the virus through contact with infected humans. Cats have shown clinical signs of the disease, including respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, and mink have shown respiratory problems and higher mortality rates.

According to Health Canada, a few studies have shown that ferrets and hamsters can also get COVID-19 from humans. The first recorded case of the disease in animals in the United States occurred in the New York Zoo with a tiger that exhibited symptoms and was likely infected by its caregiver. Other tigers and a lion from the same zoo later contracted the virus and exhibited symptoms.

Our verdict on the statement of the article published on the website Slate.fr is therefore that it is correct with reservation: cats can get COVID-19 disease, but contrary to what the authors of the article say, infected cats can also have symptoms of the disease.

Transmission of the virus between cats and humans

To date, according to the CDC, there is no evidence that pets such as cats can play a significant role in the transmission of the virus to humans. With the limited information available at this time, the risk of infection is considered low. It should be noted, according to the CDC, that other types of coronaviruses are common in canines and felines, but cannot be transmitted to humans.

With respect to cat fur, the CDC states that there is no evidence that cat fur is a source of virus transmission to humans, but one should keep in mind that some fungi and bacteria can be carried on their fur.

What precautions should be taken?

To avoid transmitting the disease to your cat, Health Canada recommends that you have your pet cared for by another member of the same household if possible, if you have COVID-19 or need to isolate yourself due to contact with someone who has the virus. If this is not possible, it is advisable to avoid direct contact with your pet. That is to say that you should avoid cuddling, kissing, sharing food, sleeping with your pet, letting your pet sit on your lap or lick you.

Good hygiene practices include washing your hands before and after contact with your pet, its food and personal belongings, and avoiding coughing on your pet and touching your face before you wash your hands. To prevent the transmission of the virus to other animals, it is advisable to prevent your pet from coming into contact with them and their owners outside the home.


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  Claim

Louise Beda-Akichi

Person
Cats can contract COVID-19 but are asymptomatic.

Verdict:

Accurate as a whole (with reservations)

 June 18, 2020


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