Back in mid-April, I took my 13-year-old cat to the vet for some tests. They told me his chronic heart disease had worsened, but it was nothing alarming. His condition started to deteriorate a few days later, ultimately leading to a 3 a.m. trip to the emergency room on April 27. The emergency veterinarians told me his blood readings were baffling; X-rays showed blood clots in his lungs. He died later that day.

At first it just seemed like one more sad thing to cope with during this time of COVID-19 — then, last week, I got a call from virologist David Sanders of Purdue University. He wanted to tell me about a new paper showing COVID-19 infections in cats. He said it looked like high-quality work, and it could have important implications for the spread of the virus. I started to wonder whether my own cat had picked up COVID-19 while waiting with other cats for his checkup at the vet.

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