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Coronavirus in big cats

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Coronavirus in Big Cats
Classification and external resources
Patient UKCoronavirus in Big Cats
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COVID-19 is a disease which can afflict big cats.

First instance[edit]

Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has become the first of her kind to test positive[1] for the coronavirus. The tiger tested positive after developing a dry cough and is expected to recover. It is the first known case of a non-domesticated animal contracting Covid 19.

Symptoms similar to humans[edit]

Samples from Nadia were taken and tested after the tiger began showing symptoms of respiratory illness. It is not known how the disease will develop in big cats since different can react differently to novel infections. None of the zoo's snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma are showing any signs of illness.

How did the Tigress get infected?[edit]

According to the zoo, the animals were infected by a zoo employee who was asymptomatically infected with the virus while caring for them.

Can SARS COV 2 jump from humans to Big cats?[edit]

Yes, it is theoretically possible for the virus to jump species, mutate and to survive in certain species after being transmitted by humans. Cats are generally susceptible to feline conronavirus, which is common but usually asymptomatic. Now the question arises that Why cats are susceptible to SARS COV2?

  • SARS-CoV2 infects respiratory cells after entering through ACE2 protein, which lies on the surface of the cells.
  • The protein in cats resembles ACE2 in humans.

A study[2] in feral cats in Wuhan, not yet peer reviewed, showed that some had antibodies to the coronavirus, indicating some level of exposure to the virus and some response by their immune systems. But the cats were not ill when tested.

Cats to cats Transmission?[edit]

A study presented by Chinese researchers but not yet peer-reviewed says YES. They inoculated cats with the SARS COV2, placed them alongside uninfected cats, and found that cats can transmit the virus to one another. There has been no evidence about cats infecting humans though.


  1. "A Tiger at Bronx Zoo Tests Positive for COVID-19; The Tiger and the Zoo's Other Cats Are Doing Well at This Time > Newsroom". Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  2. Zhang, Qiang; Zhang, Huajun; Huang, Kun; Yang, Yong; Hui, Xianfeng; Gao, Jindong; He, Xinglin; Li, Chengfei; Gong, Wenxiao; Zhang, Yufei; Peng, Cheng (2020-04-03). "SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing serum antibodies in cats: a serological investigation". bioRxiv: 2020.04.01.021196. doi:10.1101/2020.04.01.021196. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)

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