After its first description in Wuhan (China), SARS-CoV-2 the agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapidly spread worldwide. Previous studies suggested that pets could be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we investigated the putative infection by SARS-CoV-2 in 22 cats and 11 dogs from owners previously infected or suspected of being infected by SARS-CoV-2. For each animal, rectal, nasopharyngeal swabs and serum were taken. Swabs were submitted to RT-qPCR assays targeting 2 genes of SARS-CoV-2.
All dogs were tested SARS-CoV-2 negative. One cat was tested positive by RT-qPCR on rectal swab. Nasopharyngeal swabs from this animal were tested negative. This cat showed mild respiratory and digestive signs. Serological analysis confirms the presence of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the both serum samples taken 10 days apart. Genome sequence analysis revealed that the cat SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the phylogenetic clade A2a like most of the French human SARS-CoV-2. This study reports for the first time the natural infection of a cat in France (near Paris) probably through their owners. There is currently no evidence that cats can spread COVID-19 and owners should not abandon their pets or compromise their welfare.
The R&D team from ID.Vet recently collaborated with a team from ANSES, France (Dr. Zientara and Dr. Le Poder) to successfully demonstrate the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a cat sample.
We are pleased to inform you that this study has just been published in the scientific journal Transboundary Diseases.
Note: In this paper, the ID Screen® SARS-CoV-2-N IgG Indirect kit was used with a multi-species conjugate. Further studies, however, showed that these same cat sera were even more efficiently detected using the ID Screen® SARS-CoV-2 Double Antigen Multi-Species.