SPAIN has registered its first feline victim of COVID-19.
Negrito, a four-year-old cat in Catalunya, caught the disease after its owner died from the virus.
It is the sixth cat in the world reported to have caught COVID-19.
The cat had to be euthanised after suffering severe heart disease, reported La Vanguardia.
“He is a collateral victim of the disease in humans,” said Joaquim Segales, a researcher at the Centre for Research in Animal Health (CReSA).
Negrito had one of the most common heart diseases in cats, which is usually genetic.
He was taken to a veterinary hospital with breathing difficulties, a temperature of 38.2C, low blood platelet levels and heart failure.
After he was put down, vets sent the body to CReSA to be analysed. It was there that experts discovered the RNA of COVID-19 in samples taken from Negrito’s nose and digestive tract.
“The viral load was low and none of the lesions he presented were compatible with the virus,” added Segales, “The cat was already suffering from cardiomyopathy and later became infected with COVID-19.”
Five other cats around the world have been known to test positive for coronavirus.
Eight lions and tigers also tested positive at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Most of the animals showed mild symptoms of respiratory disease and have recovered without problems.
Natalia Majo, director of the CReSA, said: “The possibility that a person infects a cat is extremely low.”