The four-year-old cat died after contracting Coronavirus from its Spanish who initially capitulated to the illness in Catalonia.
The four-year-old moggy was reportedly taken to a veterinary hospital in Catalonia with breathing difficulties and a taking off temperature of 38.2°C, low blood platelet levels, and cardiovascular breakdown.
La Vanguardia report that the cat had to be euthanised after suffering severe heart disease.
“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.”
“He is a collateral victim of the disease in humans,” said Joaquim Segales, a researcher at the Centre for Research in Animal Health (CReSA).
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.
Natalia Majo, director of the CReSA, said: “The possibility that a person infects a cat is extremely low.”
Although CReSa director Natàlia Majó said the chances of cat-to-cat transmission are ‘currently unknown’, a China study earlier this year ran blood tests on 102 cats in Wuhan.
Scientists at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute found that cats and ferrets were susceptible to catching the virus but that it was rarer in dogs. They said pigs, chickens and ducks were not susceptible at all.
The study concluded that ‘the virus transmits in cats via respiratory droplets’.
Majó said the most reasonable hypothesis for cats being able to catch coronavirus is because ‘the present receptors in cells for viruses’ in the same way as humans.
Eight lions and tigers also tested positive at the Bronx Zoo in New York, but most of the animals showed mild symptoms of respiratory disease and have since recovered.