Cats can do more than catch mice, nap seemingly endlessly and wake you upbefore your alarm in the morning – they can also recover from COVID-19 morequickly than humans, according to scientific researchers in Latvia.
Samples tested by veterinary medicine faculty at the Latvia University of LifeSciences and Technologies showed several cats possessed COVID-19 antibodies,even though a cat has not yet tested positive for the virus in the Balticcountry, Latvian Public Broadcasting reported.
The researchers have tested samples from more than 130 cats, including animalsin shelters and pets from households where people have been infected withCOVID-19, according to the report.
In some cases, the researchers found signs of the virus like inflammation ofupper respiratory pathways in cats living with humans, but still didn’t detectthe virus in the animals, Kaspars Kovalenko, dean of the university’sveterinary medicine program, told the broadcaster.
“Mostly this infection is self-limiting, so for 2-3 days the cat has suchclinical signs and then the animal is recovering quite quickly,” he said.
In addition to recovering faster, cats also likely spread the virus onlybriefly compared to humans, according to the report.
These aren’t the first researchers to examine the coronavirus in cats andother animals. In March, a pet cat in Belgium became the first cat to testpositive for COVID-19. Since then, more studies have shown that the virus caninfect cats.
There have been reports of more pet cats catching the coronavirus across theUS as the pandemic spread. Even larger cats kept at zoos, like a tiger at theBronx Zoo in New York City, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The coronavirus likely came from a bat, according to the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention. Animals like ferrets, fruit bats and hamsters havebeen shown to spread COVID-19 to other animals. And outbreaks have beenreported on mink farms in several countries.
Kovalenko said that scientists want to find out why the cats are moreresistant to the coronavirus than humans, according to the report.
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