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New studies show people tend to give COVID-19 to cats more than dogs

"Luckily, the animals do not get very ill from it," said a Dutch researcher.

INDIANAPOLIS — Two new studies suggest pets, especially cats, can catch COVID-19 from their owners.

In one study, Dutch researchers collected samples from over 300 cats and dogs whose owners had tested positive for COVID-19.

Almost 5 percent of the animals tested positive for the virus, and 17 percent tested positive for antibodies, indicating a past infection.

"About one out of five pets will catch the disease from their owners," Dr. Els Broens of Utrecht University in the Netherlands told Reuters, although there are no known cases of the disease spreading from pets to humans.

"Luckily, the animals do not get very ill from it."

In a second study, Canadian researchers from the University of Guelph followed 102 pets from households that had a positive case of COVID-19 in the previous nine months.

Nearly 70 percent of the cats and over 40 percent of the dogs tested positive for antibodies in that study.

The scientists say the cats that had spent more time with their owner had a higher risk of infection, especially those cats that slept on their owner's bed.

But that link was not seen with dogs.