Is Coronavirus in Cats Common
With some much information on coronavirus, it may be sometimes confusing. Can cats catch coronavirus? Maybe a question for cat owners. Yes, cats can get coronavirus although it is different from the one that causes Covid-19 that affects human beings. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses and we have different types of viruses.
The coronavirus that affects cats is known as Feline Coronavirus (FCoV) and affects the gut. More so, it is very common and affects 90% of households with multiple cats. Alongside this, it is very contagious but no need to worry as humans as the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is called SARS-Cov-2.
Indeed a cat being tested to be diagnosed with FCov doesn’t seem necessary as it is common in many cats. Even a diagnosis of a healthy or infected cat positive result may not mean much. Even so, the test and diagnosis can still be done although in most cases the cat recovers without any treatment.
Just like many viruses, coronavirus in cats has no cure. Obviously, most cats get it unnoticed and recover completely without any struggle.
Difference between Covid -19 virus (SARS-Cov-2) and FCov
As pet owners, we want to keep our pets and families safe. Research is still being done to check on the coronavirus affecting Humans. Moreover, FCov has no specific cure but if severe the vet can give the treatment only for managing the symptoms.
That being said FCov is not the same virus that causes Covid-19. Without a doubt, there is no concrete evidence that FCov has been transmitted to humans in comparison to SARS-Cov-2 which moved from bats to people. Although research is ongoing SARS-Cov-2 is spread easily from person to person.
The virus that causes Covid-19 is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and affects humans and other types of animals but a few cases in cats have been identified. Owners that are infected with Covid 19 and are in close contact with their pets can infect them.
Particularly, we have heard cases reported of a few cats in the USA and one in Slovenia, animals in the zoo having contracted Covid 19. At this point, we can continue trying to keep everyone safe as most of these animals were in close contact with an infected person. Different studies are being done to see how this virus can affect different animals
How do Cats get Coronavirus?
To start with if the cat ingests the virus, it is infected with coronavirus and gets FCov. The virus then attaches itself and takes over the intestine and cell lining. Once it is in the body it multiplies and spreads to other cats in the household through the feces.
It will be hard to break the cycle of infection especially if the cats use the same litter tray or bathroom area. Once the virus gets in the fur or paw the cat may ingest it during self-grooming and the cycle continues. Quick action for instance removes infected poo and fur shed from the area may reduce the chances of spreading the virus to other cats.
The virus is not harmful but once it keeps mutating from one cat to another, it may become severe and fatal. Notably, if it causes the disease feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).
Common Signs of Coronavirus in Cats
Cats even when infected may not show signs of coronavirus especially when the virus is harmful, that is, before mutating. In fact, cats with FCov will eventually recover but for FIP it may be fatal.
Consult your vet when the virus mutates for immediate action. Unquestionably, when the virus mutates it becomes stronger and the signs listed below can be seen in your cats.
- Mild diarrhea
- Eye problems
- Fluid buildup in the chest
- Retardant growth in kittens
- Hardship in breathing
It is still unclear if coronavirus from animals can infect people and vice versa. But they are instances where the transmission can occur and the people infected with the Covid-19 virus or suspected are highly advised to stay away from livestock, pets, and wildlife.
The risk of animals including cats to spread the Covid 19 virus to people is still low and research is still ongoing.
They are viruses that only affect animals like feline coronavirus and canine coronavirus hence no need for alarm for pet owners.