Unlike other pets, cats are not known to pass the rabies virus to humans. However, there are reports of cats becoming sick from SARS-CoV-2.
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that is commonly found in primates. It can also infect a variety of animals including dogs, lions, hyenas, and gorillas. Infection is rare in domestic animals and most recover with minor respiratory symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that domestic animals, like cats, are not known to infect humans with the virus. However, the CDC recommends treating pets like family members and taking the same precautions for them as you would for other family members.
The CDC published its results on the occurrence of COVID-19 infection in pet animals in an online preprint last week. It found that a small number of pets – less than ten percent – tested positive for the virus. The mortality rate for infected animals is near zero. However, the researchers say that there are several modes of transmission that need to be monitored.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland have found two cases of Covid-19 in cats. The researchers believe that the cats became infected from their owners.
In one case, a ten-year-old cat sneezed in the face of a veterinary surgeon, who was not wearing eye protection. The veterinarian had a fever and cough. He swabbed the cat and it tested positive for the virus. A post-mortem lung sample showed damage consistent with viral pneumonia.