Our friend Dr Innis Cloete of Kingsway Veterinary Clinic is passionate about helping us better understand our furry friends – our pets of course!
“I have a bone to pick with you Innis,” said Jeziel “last time we talked we were talking about Coronavirus and you said pets can’t catch it, and now I’m ready stories about sick animals in the news!”
“When we last chatted it was a few weeks ago”, Dr Innis replied, “and we know how much the world can change in four weeks!”
The story Jeziel was referring to was of Nadia, a Malayan tiger from Bronx Zoo. Nadia tested positive for coronavirus after spending time with a zookeeper who was infected. The zoo then noticed that the other tigers in her enclosure began showing signs of sickness and after ruling out other illnesses, they tested all the cats who in fact had coronavirus.
Nadia, the Malayan Tiger from Bronx Zoo.
The Tigers have fully recovered now, but of course, this situation raised a lot of questions. So Dr Innis explained that Coronavirus actually has a lot of sub-strands. There is the alpha-coronavirus that affects cats and the beta coronavirus which causes COVID19 and SARS.
Cats are very susceptible to their own type of coronavirus.
“Cats have these receptors that the coronavirus can bind to, and cause all types of different problems for the cat. So there’s a possibility that humans can pass on Coronavirus, but I can’t stress this enough, there is no evidence to support the converse, that cats can pass it on to humans.”
Cats have been infected with their strain of the virus for thousands of years before COVID19 hit humans, and in all that time no cat has ever passed on their virus to a human.
In his last remarks, Dr Innis did caution that this is only the research so far. It’s pretty conclusive that COVID19 came from a mutation that allowed a bat to pass on their germs to a person, so we can never say never. But right now, the evidence is showing that we’re safe to continue hanging out with our furry pals.
Have a listen to Dr Innis’ conversation on The Drive Show below: