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Research finds cats recover from COVID-19 faster than humans

Cats can do more than catch mice, nap seemingly endlessly and wake you up before your alarm in the morning – they can also recover from COVID-19 more quickly than humans, according to scientific researchers in Latvia.

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Samples tested by veterinary medicine faculty at the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies showed several cats possessed COVID-19 antibodies, even though a cat has not yet tested positive for the virus in the Baltic country, Latvian Public Broadcasting reported.

The researchers have tested samples from more than 130 cats, including animals in shelters and pets from households where people have been infected with COVID-19, according to the report.

In some cases, the researchers found signs of the virus like inflammation of upper respiratory pathways in cats living with humans, but still didn’t detect the virus in the animals, Kaspars Kovalenko, dean of the university’s veterinary medicine program, told the broadcaster.

“Mostly this infection is self-limiting, so for 2-3 days the cat has such clinical signs and then the animal is recovering quite quickly,” he said.

In addition to recovering faster, cats also likely spread the virus only briefly compared to humans, according to the report.

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These aren’t the first researchers to examine the coronavirus in cats and other animals. In March, a pet cat in Belgium became the first cat to test positive for COVID-19. Since then, more studies have shown that the virus can infect cats.

There have been reports of more pet cats catching the coronavirus across the US as the pandemic spread. Even larger cats kept at zoos, like a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, have tested positive for COVID-19.

The coronavirus likely came from a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Animals like ferrets, fruit bats and hamsters have been shown to spread COVID-19 to other animals. And outbreaks have been reported on mink farms in several countries.

Kovalenko said that scientists want to find out why the cats are more resistant to the coronavirus than humans, according to the report.

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