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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Anthropogenic Infection of Cats during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

Hosie, Margaret J.; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina; Hartmann, Katrin; Egberink, Herman; Truyen, Uwe; Addie, Diane D.; Belak, Sandor; Boucraut-Baralon, Corine; Frymus, Tadeusz; Lloret, Albert; Lutz, Hans; Marsilio, Fulvio; Pennisi, Maria Grazia; Tasker, Severine; Thiry, Etienne; Mostl, Karin


COVID-19 is a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by a new coronavirus (CoV), SARS-CoV-2, which is closely related to SARS-CoV that jumped the animal-human species barrier and caused a disease outbreak in 2003. SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus that was first described in 2019, unrelated to the commonly occurring feline coronavirus (FCoV) that is an alphacoronavirus associated with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious and has spread globally within a few months, resulting in the current pandemic. Felids have been shown to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Particularly in the Western world, many people live in very close contact with their pet cats, and natural infections of cats in COVID-19-positive households have been described in several countries. In this review, the European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD), a scientifically independent board of experts in feline medicine from 11 European Countries, discusses the current status of SARS-CoV infections in cats. The review examines the host range of SARS-CoV-2 and human-to-animal transmissions, including infections in domestic and non-domestic felids, as well as mink-to-human/-cat transmission. It summarises current data on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in domestic cats and the results of experimental infections of cats and provides expert opinions on the clinical relevance and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in cats.


SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; domestic cats; wild felids; companion animals; minks; experimental infection; human-to-feline transmission; one health

Published in

2021, volume: 13, number: 2, article number: 185
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Hosie, Margaret J.
University of Glasgow
Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina
University of Zurich
Hartmann, Katrin
Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (LMU)
Egberink, Herman F.
Utrecht University
Truyen, Uwe
University of Leipzig
Addie, Diane D.
No organisation
Belák, Sándor (Belak, Sandor)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health
Boucraut-Baralon, Corine
Scanelis Lab
Frymus, Tadeusz
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Lloret, Albert
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Lutz, Hans
University of Zurich
Marsilio, Fulvio
University of Teramo
Pennisi, Maria-Grazia
University of Messina
Tasker, Séverine
University of Bristol
Thiry, Etienne
University of Liege
Moestl, Karin
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and well-being

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

Publication Identifiers


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