A four-year-old cat Negrito has been euthanized in Spain after reportedly catching the coronavirus that also killed his owner, according to local Italian media.
The cat, named Negrito had a pre-existing genetic heart condition, is reportedly the first pet in the country to catch coronavirus.
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The family rushed to their pet to a veterinary hospital after he had difficulty breathing. The cat had heart failure as well as a temperature of 38.2°C and low platelet levels, because of which his blood was not clotting properly.
The vets had was put to him to sleep after determining he was unlikely to recover.
Read more: Coronavirus: Can my pet cat infect me with COVID-19?
The vet who euthanized the feline suspected the cat had coronavirus and sent the body to a research center in Barcelona for analysis. The resulting post-mortem showed traces of coronavirus in samples taken from his nose and digestive tract.
A study published the journal Science early last month had concluded that cats were highly susceptible to the virus when scientists put it up their nose via respiratory drops. It also tested various other animals, finding that “ferrets and cats are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, dogs have low susceptibility, and livestock including pigs, chickens, and ducks are not susceptible to the virus.”
This latest study builds on reports that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City caught coronavirus, and earlier unconfirmed reports that two dogs in Hong Kong had become infected.
Spanish daily El Pais in a report said these were incidental findings and there is no evidence that cats can get sick or die from coronavirus. It said researchers insist animal infections are “anecdotal” and that there is no evidence of pets being able to transmit the disease to humans.
The World Health Organization is conducting further investigations into animals and coronavirus.