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An Italian cat has reportedly been diagnosed with the UK variant of COVID-19 — in what is believed to be the first case of a feline contracting the strain.

The 8-year-old cat began displaying respiratory symptoms about 10 days after its owners went into quarantine at their home in the northern province of Novara, west of Milan, because they became sick, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

“This diagnosis and the identification of the British variant shows that the pandemic control and integrated management systems are effective and ready to respond,” said Angelo Ferrari, director of the Animal Health Research Institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta.

The cat and its owners are on the road to recovery, according to the institute.

In the US, nearly 100 pet dogs and cats have contracted COVID-19 – mostly after close contact with an infected person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on March 7.

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