According to a new research paper published in the journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections”, more cats have been infected by the novel coronavirus than previously expected.
The medical and scientific worlds have known for a while now that both cats and dogs are able to contract the novel coronavirus. However, knowing how common these infection are has remained a mystery.
The study was conducted with abandoned and surrendered felines in the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the research, none of the felines showed symptoms of the virus, but they did however have neutralising antibodies in their blood, which acts as a protection against the virus once a person, or feline in this case, contracts the virus.
The new study involved scientist swabbing and taking blood samples from more than 100 cats in Wuhan between January 2020 to March 2020. Once the researchers were able to analyse the blood samples and swabs, they found that 15 out of a total of 102 cats had contracted SARS-CoV-2 as evidenced by antibodies in their blood. Out of the 15 cats, researches found that 11 of the samples had evidence of ‘neutralising antibodies,’ according to Slash Gear.
A neutralising antibody is an antibody that defends a cell from a pathogen or infectious particle by neutralising any effect it has biologically. Neutralisation renders the particle no longer infectious or pathogenic.
The study also revealed evidence that cats are able to pass on the virus onto other cats. There is however no evidence that proves an infected animal can pass the virus on to a human. Strangely enough, there is evidence that suggests humans can pass the virus on to their pets, this is made evident by the large levels of antibodies found in cats that are owned by people who have had COVID-19.