New scientific research has found that domestic cats can be asymptomatic (no symptoms) yet still be carriers of SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
Study findings overview
The researchers studied susceptibility to infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats. They found that domestic cats may not have obvious clinical signs of SARS-CoV-2, but they still shed the virus through their nasal, oral and rectal cavities and can spread it efficiently to other cats within two days. Further research is needed to study whether domestic cats can spread the virus to other animals and humans.
“Our findings are important because of the close association between humans and companion animals…This efficient transmission between domestic cats indicates a significant animal and public health need to investigate a potential human-cat-human transmission chain.”
-Dr. Jürgen A. Richt, researcher and Regents distinguished professor at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Reference: Natasha N. Gaudreault, Jessie D. Trujillo, Mariano Carossino, David A. Meekins, Igor Morozov, Daniel W. Madden, Sabarish V. Indran, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Taeyong Kwon, Bianca Libanori Artiaga, Konner Cool, Adolfo García-Sastre, Wenjun Ma, William C. Wilson, Jamie Henningson, Udeni B. R. Balasuriya, Juergen A. Richt. SARS-CoV-2 infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats. Emerging Microbes & Infections, 2020; 9 (1): 2322. DOI: 10.1080/22221751.2020.1833687