Cats can spread the new coronavirus to other cats without any of them ever having symptoms, a lab experiment suggests.Scientists who led the work, reported on Wednesday, say it shows the need for more research into whether the virus can spread from people to cats to people again.
Health experts have downplayed that possibility. The American Veterinary Medical Association said in a new statement that just because an animal can be deliberately infected in a lab "does not mean that it will easily be infected with that same virus under natural conditions."
Anyone concerned about that risk should use "common sense hygiene," said virus expert Peter Halfmann.
Don't kiss your pets and keep surfaces clean to cut the chances of picking up any virus an animal might shed, he said.
Researchers took coronavirus from a human patient and infected three cats with it. Each cat then was housed with another cat that was free of infection.
Within five days, coronavirus was found in all three of the newly exposed animals.None of the six cats ever showed any symptoms.