Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
A sweet-looking cat is back to purring and cozying up to her owner now that she's recovered from COVID-19.
The 9-year-old cat named Papille is the first known case of a pet being infected by the coronavirus in France, and one of only a handful of known cases worldwide.
In Papille's case, her owners are the likely source, since they were also infected with cornavirus.
“We didn’t know what was wrong with her,” Papille’s owner Brian told Reuters, asking the news agency not to use his last name after receiving hateful messages on social media.
“Mum found it strange the she was showing the same symptoms as a human: fatigue, a cough and bouts of lethargy. We said to ourselves, ‘Perhaps it’s COVID-19," he said. "Unlikely, but perhaps.’”
As it turns out, they were right.
According to the news agency, 24-year-old Brian first showed COVID-19 symptoms in late March. He then self-isolated at home with his parents, where he lives.
A few days later, his mother Florence's test positive came back positive, after she'd felt fatigued and had a high fever. As she recovered in bed, the cat would snuggle up to her. Then Papille too fell ill.
“She couldn’t stand, she wouldn’t react when we called her. She’d barely lift her head,” said Brian. “It was us who transmitted the virus.”
Papille was tested for COVID-19 at a national vet school in Paris.
“Human-to-animal transmission is not something that is impossible, but it is very rare," Renaud Tissier, science director at the Alfort National Vet School, told Reuters. "We have no cases of humans being infected by pets."