Almost one in five domestic cats (19 percent) is likely to become infected with the coronavirus if one or more people in a household have COVID-19. In dogs, this happens in about 14 percent of cases. This is evident from an ongoing investigation commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Minister Carola Schouten reports in a letter to Parliament on Thursday.
In the study, researchers from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Rotterdam, Utrecht and Wageningen tested 144 cats and 149 dogs. The number of cats and dogs that had antibodies against the coronavirus was found to be 28 to 20, respectively. This indicates that the animals are or have been infected with the virus.
Six cats and six dogs even tested positive during the study. Three weeks later the infection was found to have cleared up in most cases and nearly all animals tested negative.
Importantly, the pets have likely been infected by their owner. There are no known cases of infected dogs or cats infecting humans, as minks can. There is also no evidence (yet) that dogs or cats can infect their peers.
The study began in July and will continue until mid-2021.
It was known that dogs and cats can get corona
The fact that cats and dogs can also become infected with the virus is not new. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality reported in May that three cats and a dog were or had been infected.
Just like humans, cats can develop respiratory complaints if they are infected. The animals can also develop stomach and intestinal problems. Earlier this year, the RIVM reported that young cats in particular become ill after infection. RIVM disclosed less details about dogs, except that the animals are likely to be infected by cuddling with humans.
People who have a sick dog or cat at home who have been in contact with an infected person are advised to call their doctor.