Cats and ferrets can contract coronavirus

House cats and ferrets are susceptible to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in humans, according to lab tests. ©Paul Sableman

The coronavirus that spreads COVID-19 in humans can also infect cats and ferrets, according to laboratory tests. New research in China found that cats can spread the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to other cats, but dogs don’t appear to be susceptible. The researchers deliberately gave high doses of coronavirus to cats (Felis catus), domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus), pigs (Sus domesticus) and ducks. They found that only cats and ferrets were susceptible to the coronavirus in the study published in Science. The tests were conducted in an effort to find animals that could be used to test vaccines for SARS-CoV-2. While a few cases of dogs and cats contracting the coronavirus have been reported, as well as a tiger at the Bronx Zoo, strong evidence hasn’t been found outside of the lab that these pets can be carriers. 

Read more at Reuters. Read the study in Science.