Cats are susceptible to new crowns and can be transmitted to other cats, but dogs are less susceptible to infection, and chickens, pigs and ducks are less likely to be infected, according to researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, published on the pre-printed website bioRxiv. But cat owners don’t panic for a while, and the study is based on laboratory experiments in which a small number of animals are deliberately injected with high doses of the virus, not representing real-life interactions between people and pets.
There is no direct evidence that infected cats can transmit the virus to humans. In the experiment, the researchers injected samples of the new coronavirus into the noses of five domestic cats, two of which were euthanized six days later, and found viral RNA and infectious virus particles in their upper respiratory tract. The remaining three were kept in cages with three uninfected cats, and the researchers later found viral RNA on one of them. Showing that the virus can spread between cats, but two other animals that are not infected means that it may not be highly contagious. The researchers say more tests are needed. Tests on dogs showed that they had viral RNA in their faeces, but did not contain any infectious viruses. Chickens, pigs and ducks were not found to be infected with the virus.