And it’s going to be a difficult question to answer, she added, “as we could never expose an uninfected person to an infected cat to determine whether cat-to-human transmission would occur.”
Still, Poulsen suggested that while the possibility cannot be ruled out, it is not overly concerning.
“We have no evidence that any companion animals play a significant role in transmission back to people,” he said, “with the exception of ferrets and mink. The chances of this happening to a significant, or intervention-requiring rate, are low, but not zero.”
His bottom line: “We still do not believe that cats, or dogs, are significant players in the disease ecology of COVID-19 in people, animals or the environment,” Poulsen stressed.
Maybe so, but the study authors concluded that “it will be important to monitor for human-to-cat, cat-to-cat and cat-to-human transmission.”
As for canines, both Hosie and Poulsen agreed dogs appear to have the upper hand over their feline friends when it comes to human coronavirus vulnerability.
“Dogs are infectable, but less frequently than cats,” Hosie said.
Poulsen agreed, noting that “the science points to the fact that cats likely replicate more virus than dogs.”
The study was published April 22 in the Veterinary Record.
There’s more on pet health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Margaret J. Hosie, PhD, professor, comparative virology, MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, Bearsden, Glasgow, U.K.; Dorothee Bienzle, DVM, professor, veterinary pathology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; Keith Poulsen, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, clinical associate professor, large animal internal medicine, and director, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Veterinary Record, April 22, 2021