According to National Geographic, cats can be infected but they do not develop the disease.
An experiment carried out with dogs and cats investigates how susceptible these animals are to the pandemic. How do they get infected? Do pets transmit the disease? Do they develop antibodies? Can they infect humans?
The study, published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), found that cats are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but are unlikely to develop clinical disease. In addition, they found that the felines had developed neutralizing antibodies that prevented reinfection.
Rather, the researchers deduced that dogs do not infect other conspecifics, but do elicit an antibody response.
Covid in animals
The concern about whether or not pets are infected has to do with the very nature of the virus, which is known to have jumped to humans from an animal reservoir, a process known as zoonosis. So far it has not been shown that domestic animals can transmit the virus to humans, but neither has widespread testing been done on pets. “Should we test every cat or dog with respiratory symptoms for covid? Microbiologist Shelley Rankin, from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, wonders about the question. The question is pertinent, because to date tests have only been done when there has been a direct link with human health.
However, the study cautions, there is currently no scientific evidence that cats or dogs play a significant role in human infection. However, reverse zoonosis (infection from humans to animals) can occur if infected owners expose their domestic pets to the virus during the acute phase of infection.
Be that as it may, the scientists conclude, the information on resistance to infections in these animals could provide relevant information for a possible vaccine that protects all species, including humans.