The study researchers found that, among the pets of people who had recovered from COVID-19, about two-thirds of cats and more than 40% of dogs had antibodies against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, meaning the pets had been infected with the virus in the past. In particular, cats that slept in their owners' beds had a high risk of catching the disease.
Although researchers have previously documented a few cases of pets catching COVID-19 from their owners, they didn't know exactly how common this human-to-pet transmission was.
"If someone has COVID-19, there is a surprisingly high chance they will pass it on to their pet," study co-author Dr. Dorothee Bienzle, a professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, said in a statement. The authors recommend that people with COVID-19 keep their distance from their pets, and "keep [pets] out of your bedroom," Bienzle said.