Cats are one of the most popular pets along with dogs, and you are very likely to find at least several homes in a neighborhood with one or two (or more) feline companions. With that said, it is surprising to know that despite the fact that cats often live closely to humans, it seems that not a single cat is affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
It has already been documented that domestic cats and even big cats can contract COVID-19, which has caused a lot of people to worry about their beloved pets. However, even though they are capable of contracting the virus, it appears that they recover a lot more quickly than humans.
Scientists are keen to find out why.
A team of researchers from the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LLU) recently did a study on the progression of coronavirus in cats. Latvia, a European country with a population of around 2 million, has the continent’s second highest percentage of cat ownership per household per capita. In Latvia, specifically, no single cat has ever tested positive for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The team of LLU researchers tested 130 cats. Some cats were from animal shelters, while some were from homes where at least one person tested positive for COVID-19. Their findings show that cats have developed a way to fight off the virus. In some cases, antibodies have been detected.
According to LLU Veterinary Medicine Faculty Professor Kaspars Kovalenko, cats do show symptoms of the disease but only for about 2-3 days. Then, they tend to demonstrate excellent signs of recovery. Scientists theorize that the reason behind this phenomenon could be genetic and cats might possess congenital immunity.
While there are other animals that have been proven to be capable of catching the coronavirus, such as cattle, pigs, hamsters, and ferrets, the LLU researchers believe that studying cats and their DNA should be the top priority because of their close proximity to humans and, subsequently, constant exposure to the germs and viruses that cause a number of human diseases.
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