Even as many people still can’t access Covid-19 testing, one domestic cat in Belgium has been tested and – unfortunately – found to have been infected with the disease caused by the new coronavirus that’s spreading across the globe. This was reported by the Begian government’s FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment.
This is the first human-to-cat transmission of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
The owner of the cat traveled to Italy, a country with over 97,600 Covid-19 cases and 10,700 deaths as of March 30. Upon returning to Belgium, this owner got sick with Covid-19. The symptoms linked to the disease were also noted in the cat, including: diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory issues.
The owner sent samples of the cat’s vomit and feces to Dr. Daniel Desmecht’s lab at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Liège. Genetic tests showed high levels of SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19) in those samples.
Two other pets (dogs, this time) are thought to have been infected with the novel coronavirus from owners in Hong Kong. The first dog is a 17-year-old Pomeranian, which tested a weak positive for the virus at the end of February. It died in mid-March. The second dog, a German shepherd, tested positive but showed no symptoms of the disease.
This shows that, yes, pets can get infected too; and this time, the humans are the vectors. But it is worth noting that so far, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from pets to humans.
Kitty, by the way, recovered after nine days.