Cats can become infected with the coronavirus but dogs appear not to be vulnerable, according to a study published on Wednesday, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to say that it will take a closer look at transmission of the virus between humans and pets.
The study, published on the website of the journal Science, found that ferrets can also become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the scientific term for the virus that causes the COVID-19.
However, the research found that dogs, chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus.
The study was aimed at identifying which animals are vulnerable to the virus so they can be used to test experimental vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study, based on research conducted in China in January and February, found cats and ferrets highly susceptible to the virus when researchers attempted to infect the animals by introducing viral particles via the nose.
The WHO on Wednesday said it is working with its partners to look more closely at the role of pets in the health crisis.