Can Cats be COVID Cure?
Cats made it into the New York Times relative to COVID-19 last week. The news regarded a new scientific report (coming out of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences) confirming that cats and dogs can be infected by the novel coronavirus, but that neither animal is likely to get sick. Don’t panic though as there is still no evidence, I repeat - no evidence to suggest that pets can or have passed the virus to humans.
The primary reason I am sharing this report is because they also found that cats do develop a strong, protective immune response to COVID-19 and could point scientists toward an effective vaccine. Yes, once again cats may save the human species. And you thought we were just take take and no give.
Other tidbits from the study are also interesting. It was found that cats can shed the virus and infect other cats but cats and dogs don’t show any symptoms (there are still mixed results on whether dogs shed the virus if infected). But keep in mind that these studies were done in the lab (where the animals were intentionally given the virus whereas in the real world the animals have to breathe in viral particles from an infected person where normal contact doesn’t necessarily translate into infection for animals.
The results of the study confirmed that pets do not represent a concern for human infection (emphasizing that while millions of humans have been infected with the virus worldwide and 1 million have died, there are only a handful of reports of pets that have become infected naturally). The researchers also concluded that there could be genetic barriers to infection that are overcome in a lab with concentrated doses of virus.
A strong example is a study reported by Tufts of ferrets, shown in the laboratory to be susceptible to infection with the virus, and to spread it to other ferrets. But in a home with 29 pet ferrets (hmmm, bet that home smells delicious!) and two humans with COVID, and symptomatic, not one ferret became infected with the virus despite all roaming freely in the house.
So this is all good news for homeless cats like me in that we can all safely continue being your COVID-companions. As a precautionary measure, the Colorado State researchers advise keeping your cats indoors if a human in your household has become infected, because cats can potentially spread the virus to other cats. There is also concern that cats could spread the virus to wildlife but there is much more research to do on that as well.
Bottom line, feline companionship during these uncertain and unsettling times provide so much benefit to your mental and emotional health, and thus your immune system, that, in my opinion, is far better than any medicine. So adopt me today, the end.
Oh wait, I should share a little about me. My name is Snick and I am a ridiculously adorable 3 month old boy kitten. I love to play with my kitten friends and toys almost as much as I adore cuddles and belly rubs from humans. I look forward to meeting you, just call my people here for an appointment.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 26 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.