Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic cats

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Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic cats

Added 18 May 2020

A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a small experimental study looking at the nasal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 from inoculated cats and the subsequent transmission of the virus by direct contact (co-housing in close contact) in three pairs of cats.

The cats were all between 15 and 18 weeks of age and from a specific pathogen free colony. Nasal and rectal swabs were obtained daily and immediately assessed for infectious virus. None of the cats in the study showed any symptoms, including abnormal body temperature, substantial weight loss or conjunctivitis. All the animals had IgG antibody titres between 1:5120 and 1:20,480 on day 24 after the initial inoculation.

This study supports other evidence that cats can be infected with and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to other cats when in close confinement but gives no information on what may happen under more normal conditions.


New England Journal of Medicine (2020) Letter to the Editor: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic cats (13 May 2020) [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020]

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