Chats with the Chatfields

Ep 35: Is covid in cats really a thing?! In 2022?!

December 06, 2022 Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield Season 1 Episode 35
Ep 35: Is covid in cats really a thing?! In 2022?!
Chats with the Chatfields
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Chats with the Chatfields
Ep 35: Is covid in cats really a thing?! In 2022?!
Dec 06, 2022 Season 1 Episode 35
Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield

Since late 2019 and early 2020, researchers everywhere have worked overtime to discover everything possible about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  Precious few publications have been as ground-breaking as the recent pre-print publication by Grace Tyson and her team at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, "Rising SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence and Patterns of Cross-Variant Antibody Neutralization in UK Domestic Cats."

Here in the Chat Room, we love cats!  But, we also like to avoid exchanging viruses with them if we can!  Luckily, Grace joins Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield to chat all about her research, what it means for cat lovers, her early career as a competitive figure-skater, and what breed of cat is her favorite.

Link to Grace's paper: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.11.18.517046v1

For more about Grace Tyson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-tyson-709794174/

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Show Notes Transcript

Since late 2019 and early 2020, researchers everywhere have worked overtime to discover everything possible about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  Precious few publications have been as ground-breaking as the recent pre-print publication by Grace Tyson and her team at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, "Rising SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence and Patterns of Cross-Variant Antibody Neutralization in UK Domestic Cats."

Here in the Chat Room, we love cats!  But, we also like to avoid exchanging viruses with them if we can!  Luckily, Grace joins Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield to chat all about her research, what it means for cat lovers, her early career as a competitive figure-skater, and what breed of cat is her favorite.

Link to Grace's paper: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.11.18.517046v1

For more about Grace Tyson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-tyson-709794174/

Show our sponsors some love:
FullBucket Veterinary Strength Supplements - the leader in digestive health for dogs, cats and horses

Share this episode with a friend who needs to hear it...or might be interested in the topic...or just to make their day brighter! :)

Speaker A: Okay. Hello and welcome to Chats with the Chatfields. This is a podcast to expand your idea what impacts veterinarians, pet owners, and basically all animal lovers in the galaxy as humans. We are your hosts. I'm Dr. Jen, the vet.

Speaker B: And I'm Dr. Jason.

Speaker A: And if you have not yet subscribed to our show, why not just head to Chatfieldshow.com or to our YouTube channel at @chatfieldshow and subscribe today. And if you want to reach us and you've got a message full of love and positivity, you can find me at jen@chatfieldshow.com.

Speaker B: And for all of you other folks who like to keep it real. You can reach me at Jason@chatfieldshow.com.

Speaker A: Okay, I'm very excited. Uh, we have cutting edge stuff coming at you today. Chatterboxes in the chatroom. Uh, Jason, are you ready? Because once we bring her in, we're going to go.

Speaker B: Why don't you read that?

Speaker A: Oh, yeah.

Speaker B: I stay ready so I don't have to get ready. So of course I'm ready.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker B: Right.

Speaker A: All right. We're bringing her in. Well, I want to say good morning, although it's good afternoon for our guest. And our guest today is Grace B Tyson. She is a PhD candidate at the Medical Research Council, or MRC - University of Glasgow. Glasgow. Wait. University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research in Glasgow, Scotland, which, clearly, I have not been to. Grace, how do you say Glasgow? Glasgow. Glasgow. Apparently I need to watch more BritBox.

Speaker B: That's fine.

Speaker A: To get that right. Uh, okay. So we are excited to talk with you today, um, because oh, I should also point out, I guess God bless the Internet. We know everything about everybody. But I didn't know hardly anything about Grace before today. And I just would like for everyone in the chat room to know on the side, as a side hustle, grace was a competitive figure skater.

Speaker B: Get out of town. That's super cool, right?

Speaker A: When she was a kid?

Speaker B: Oh, yeah. Uh, when you were a kid. Great.

Speaker A: I mean, was that like, last month? That's awesome. Okay, so but we're not talking about figure skating today.

Speaker B: Oh, I thought that was how we got the cutting edge part in, right? No.

Speaker A: Giving me far more credit than necessary.

Speaker B: Well, whatever.

Speaker A: All right, let's land this plane already. Let's tell you why she's here. She's here because, uh, along with her team, the, uh, soon to be Dr. Tyson recently, uh, published an article about the prevalence, or seraprevalence, I guess I would say, of SARS coronavirus two. And I'll just remind the universe that that's the virus that causes COVID in dumb du duh, um, domestic cats. Boom.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay. Uh, I like so many questions. Grace, first of all, first of all, uh, are you a cat lover?

Speaker C: I am a cat lover. I don't have a cat. But I love cats. And my partner had two cats who I loved, and my mum had a cat. And everyone I know has a cat, but I don't have a cat, unfortunately. I want to get one.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker B: You don't have a cat yet.

Speaker A: Okay. So, uh, I guess when I saw your article and I should qualify that. It's a preprint. Um, during COVID-19, um, in case everyone isn't aware, the research and publication, I guess universe, uh, decided to push out any, uh information without putting it necessarily through the peer review process in order to more efficiently sort of kick out for everyone to read research as it was happening. Uh, which in the Facebook pandemic hey, thanks for that. Uh, right. Um, there you are, just sitting in, um, Glasgow, minding your business, maybe doing some figure eight at the rink, and you just think, hey, I wonder about cats and coked. I mean, how did this happen? How did this come about?

Speaker C: So I graduated from my undergraduate degree, my honors degree in 2020. So I graduated from a biology degree into a pandemic, essentially.

Speaker A: Um, that's either fortuitous or scary.

Speaker C: Yeah, a bit of both. So I was actually working in the same lab as I am just now, but working on COVID in humans. So looking at the immune m response to COVID in humans and looking at the efficacy of vaccines and all sorts of different stuff to do with, um, immunity to COVID in humans. And, um, our lab is really great. We have two sort of primary investigators who one is very much a, ah, sort of immunologist, and one specializes in comparative medicine, which is very kind of animalbased, uh, event by trade. So we have a really good kind of, um, situation where we have human researchers and animal researchers working together. So when a PhD came up looking at covidden cats, I applied for it. And basically we decided to do a PhD. Because our lab was the first to discover a case in the UK of coviding cats back in January of 2020. So once that was discovered, it was basically Phil Steam ahead, looking at coding cats. So that's how I got into it.

Speaker B: Yeah. They found a case and they said, who wants to find out how many more cases there are? Is that pretty much how that went? Yeah.

Speaker C: Awesome.

Speaker B: Very cool.

Speaker A: Yeah. That answers the question of why cats and not dogs, right?

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker B: Does it? What do you mean? I don't know. That answers that question.

Speaker A: It doesn't get covered.

Speaker C: Dogs can get covered.

Speaker A: Right.

Speaker C: We've seen cases of dogs with COVID but cats get covered more frequently, so it seems like both are able to get infected and both primarily become infected from their owner. So a human with COVID people sleep with their dogs and cats and tips and walks and spend all their time with dogs and cats, particularly during lockdowns.

Speaker B: Right.

Speaker C: So we're getting lots of cases in dogs and cats, but cats tend to get it more frequently. Dogs, it's kind of once in a blue moon, but cats seem to get it quite frequently.

Speaker A: Yeah. And, um, I guess that does make sense, um, because cats, if you were looking at the respiratory system, because there's a respiratory disease in cats as well, I mean, OK, right. Coronaviruses, they like two different organ systems, right. They like either respiratory or GI. But cats with respiratory viruses, we know cats, for example, can get influenza from people. And we know that cats can actually give influenza. There's been documented cats giving transmitting influenza to people.

Speaker B: This is what she does, Grace. She finds some way to bring up influenza. We're talking about volcanoes and somehow influenza will come up. I'm sorry to interrupt, but you hadn't initiated the influenza.

Speaker A: Sorry. Because we live in, um, awe ah, of the influenza virus.

Speaker B: You live in all of the influenza virus. Anyway, we're talking about some other respiratory, not influenza.

Speaker A: Okay? Um, so tell us exactly what you did. Did you get some cats? Did you shove stuff up their noses? Like, what happened?

Speaker B: I bet that was fun, what you.

Speaker A: Did and what you found.

Speaker C: Basically, the University of Glasgow is really good because it has, um, um, veterinary lab, like a veterinary diagnostic lab. So what happens is vets from all around the UK are able to send samples to the university and get tested. Um, it's sort of quite a well known lab for diagnosing sip and some other conditions. So it's kind of a specialist lab that we can send you. So because of that, we have loads and loads of samples passing through the university from cats. And um, if these samples, if orders have not opted out of additional scientific testing, we can use these. And we have quite a large amount of samples and quite a wide, um, population to test. So we tested blood samples. You can test swap samples, but the reason why we tested blood samples is because if you were to do a, uh, lateral flow test or a PCR test on yourself, you are only actually, um, sharing virus and infecting with virus for a very short amount of time. So if you're just sampling random people in the population, it's quite difficult to find somebody.

Speaker B: We got to stop there.

Speaker A: We got a pause. We got a pause. Grace.

Speaker B: I got dropped the knowledge. Oh my goodness.

Speaker A: Okay, so if we did a lateral flow or a PCR, and everybody now thinks Covet knows, or should know that those are two testing platforms where you're swabbing your nose or you're swabbing the back of your throat, or usually you're trying to swab the back of your throat through your nose.

Speaker B: M?

Speaker A: Right. Um, and so that's, that type of test and that just is a different way of processing it. But that's basically what we're getting at. Like with at home test and all of that through COVID, right?

Speaker C: Yes. So when you're doing these tests, these PCRs or these lateral flow, what you're actually looking for to detect whether you've been infected with the virus is parts of the virus itself. So for that, the virus still needs to be in your system. You still need to be infected in order to keep up positive on a lateral floor of PCR. But because, um, the immune response generates antibodies which fight off the virus, these are present in your bloodstream for a long time, sometimes years after you've been infected. And this is what gives you immunity. Once you get infected with a disease, you might get infected again, but often times it still protects you. So we can detect these in the blood and they're hanging around for years and years and years. So when we have these samples coming in, that's why we do serology rather than, um, PCR or something like that, because we have a much longer time frame and we can detect whether the cat was infected, say, back in 2020.

Speaker B: Also, have you ever tried to swab 87 million cats? That would be up their nose. I mean, you're going to have some. I don't want the mortality, right?

Speaker C: I haven't been scratched up by a cat. But we do get some swab samples coming through for other conditions. So we have been attempting PCR, but like I said, it's really difficult to find these cases because it's such a short time that the virus is actually in the animal system. That's not to say that we haven't found some. We have I'm sorry. It's much easier with the serology.

Speaker A: Yeah. And that really kind of brings to light some of the difficulties with kind, uh, of survey sampling, um, different populations, like you're talking about. Uh, okay, so we're going to take a very quick break, folks, because then when we come back, we're going to talk with Grace about okay, so what? Who cares? So what does this mean for me? Does this mean I'd get rid of my cat? Should I get six more cats? What are we going to do? Is this cath a new canary? I don't know. Anyway, so we're going to take a quick break, pay some bills, and we'll be right back, okay? Okay. That is so awesome. I'm excited. Okay, so we just took a short break. So now, uh, you're feeling okay, Grace? It's going good for you?

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay, good. Okay. And we're back, and still in the chat room is our lovely, um, Scottish.

Speaker B: Friend, uh what do you mean still? Like, you thought she was going to go run away and go test some cats real quick or something. What does that mean still?

Speaker A: I don't know. Look, man, look, she's doing the kind of research where she's wearing a cape. Do you don't see her behind her?

Speaker B: She's in demand. We're lucky to have her. What you're saying? Okay, I got you. I thought we were able to keep her, is what you're saying.

Speaker A: Yes, exactly.

Speaker B: We are the lucky ones.

Speaker A: No, but we are still here with Grace Tyson and talking about her, uh, new research that's been very recently published about the seroprevalence of Cerse coronavirus, two in cats. Um, okay, so at the diagnostic lab at, um, the University of Glasgow, people send, like, veterinarians all over from all over the UK or Scotland.

Speaker C: All over the UK.

Speaker A: All over the UK. They're sending blood samples. Are they sending blood samples, like, for COVID? Or are they just sending blood samples to be tested for stuff?

Speaker C: Most of the time it's to be tested for other things. So, um, we get a lot of samples coming in that are doing testing for feline, coronavirus or stuff. We have Kalesi virus, mhm, um, all sorts of different diseases and cats. And we also get ones from biochemistry or hematology, where they're looking for, for example, hyperthyroidism monitors.

Speaker A: Yeah. Any blood samples. So these were not necessarily cats that had clinical, um, signs of COVID-19?

Speaker C: No. So we get a couple that are sent to us specifically from vets, but most of the time we don't know whether they've had clinical signs of COVID And oftentimes they would have been brought to the vet for COVID.

Speaker B: Right. But they probably had clinical signs of something else. Right. They're not necessarily you wouldn't call them 100% healthy, maybe?

Speaker C: No. The population is more swung towards sick.

Speaker B: A little bit right. As it almost has to be. Right.

Speaker A: Yeah. But not necessarily sick with respiratory.

Speaker B: Sure.

Speaker A: So in the US, what that would equate to is because we do a lot of, um, in house blood work. Right. And so your vet may say you have a cat that's, um, six years old or older, and they want to do geriatric blood work just regularly. Yeah. Just survey. Well, sometimes you can send that out to a diagnostic lab. And that could have been a sample. Right. If you were pulling samples from, um, some of the commercial veterinary labs in the US, um, then that could be a sample that could have been tested at your lab for seroprevalence, um, looking for antibody, tighter scope. So for folks out there with cats wondering, huh, could my cat have been tested if we were passing through Scotland? I guess that's my point, is that these were not cats that you thought had COVID or their owners had COVID.

Speaker B: Or anything, or some other respiratory yeah. And that's trying to screw it that way on purpose. Right.

Speaker C: Essentially, it's just random cats from this population, as long as the owner hasn't opted out of any additional scientific testing. Basically, cats that get sent for anything.

Speaker A: Anything. Okay. So there's that wonderful word that we love in research. Right. So they were randomized. Yeah. Okay. Um, so what did you find?

Speaker C: So, we found that among our blood samples, despite there are biases on the population, like you said, about sicker cats, and we actually had a higher proportion of pedigree cats than we would have expected, um, partially because some pedigree cats are more susceptible to things like that.

Speaker A: So when you say pedigree, those are, um, pure bred cats?

Speaker C: Yes, purebred cats.

Speaker A: Okay. Not your generic domestic short hair?

Speaker C: No, no. These are like.

Speaker A: Continue.

Speaker C: Among, um, this whole population of cats, we found an overall serial prevalence of over 3%, which is a lot higher than we realize. And in certain it's basically been increasing over time through it, the pan out, this has been increasing. And in winter of two thirds this year, the sea prevalence in the UK was over 5% 5% of quite a large data set of cats had evidence that they were infected with COVID-19.

Speaker B: How m many cats are you up to now? What's the number? I know you probably have some.

Speaker C: In the paper. There are 2309 cats in the paper. I've tested more since then, so we're now up over 3000.

Speaker B: Wow. Okay.

Speaker A: So, uh, we call that an adequate and like sample population, sample size, especially because they're fairly, uh, randomized, like you say. Truly random is almost impossible in any restrictions setting up. So all of my EPI students right now, whose heads are exploding because I told you truly random, it's hard. I want you to listen. I heard you give the caveat and ah, I saw you kind of roll your eyes at yourself a little bit, like, okay. I mean, like randomized. But I mean, there is some bias in this election. Right, okay. But still, this is as close to randomized as you might get. Um, in this situation, I would argue when you say that you had 3% in the paper, 3% positive. And then now as you move forward through time and more people actually become effective with Cobid, then more cats become zero, ah, positive. Which would make sense. Right. Um, so now you're at 5%. Um, what does that mean for a cat owner?

Speaker C: Well, I suppose there's another caveat coming up, I apologize. A caveat to that that um, is quite interesting is we tested for a thing called neutralizing antibodies. So what they are is they're not just normal antibodies, they are antibodies that actually can prevent a virus from entering a cell, which is what it needs to do to infect you. So, um, it might be possible that in our population, some cats have been infected, but they just don't have antibodies that are necessarily strong enough to stop the virus from entering itself. So it might even be higher than the 3% that we found or the 5%.

Speaker A: So you were only serving for the presence of neutralizing antibodies.

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: Whereas they could have had been infected, but they didn't mount a, uh, good enough fed they have antibodies, but not neutralizing antibodies. Exactly.

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker C: It may well be more.

Speaker A: If I have a cat. I guess we get down to it now. Right. So for me, if I have a cat, what that means for me is gosh, Grace, what do you think that means for me? And bear in mind, I have a French bulldog, which is like cat adjacent. Yeah.

Speaker C: So essentially what this means for people we know that the vast, vast majority of cases of Coviding cats come from owners. So basically, if you suspect you might have COVID-19 or you've tested positive on a lateral flow test or whatever, it might just be a good idea to really, really keep an eye on your cat. If you usually sleep with your cat, or if you usually sort of a really upclose and personal with your cat, try to be a bit less like that. And just try not necessarily isolate from your cat, but really try and don't have very, very close contact.

Speaker B: Minimize the exposure.

Speaker C: As exactly.

Speaker A: And when we say that, we don't mean don't let them rub on your ankles. Right. It's like old enough ear.

Speaker C: Exactly.

Speaker A: Snorkel and snuffle in their face.

Speaker C: And the most important thing, a lot of cat infections are asymptomatic. The cat will be totally fine even if it does become infected. But if you do notice, um, respiratory problems in the cat, you might notice we've had a lot of interesting cases, um, where we think the cat has lost its sense of taste or smell, where owners have been saying, oh, the cat seems to be off its food, or is behaving weirdly around other cats in the household. That's something to watch out for as well. And if you're worried about that, talk to your vet and say, I think my cat is covered. I know cats can get covered. And in the UK, if you really believe your cat is covered and your vet believes, OK, this is a possibility, they can send samples to us to test. Um, it may be a different situation in the US. But there are researchers in the US doing great work on COVID and cats.

Speaker A: Yes, there are places where we can send samples for testing for COVID, um, in pets, whether it's dogs or cats. Yeah. But you got to go to your veterinarian. Yes, exactly.

Speaker B: And another question is and that's when you worry about the cat, uh, because you worry about your cats. But what about the fact that, um, should the humans be worried that there's all this COVID in cats? Are we just kind of infecting each other? Uh, listen, I just asked what I think the general crazy public's going to because they hear this pandemic, oh, my God, I got to do it. And rightfully so, because we never had anything like this. So now people listen to this, they're going to think, oh my gosh, I have a cat. And first thing to worry about the cat. But immediately after, what about my kids that are near, uh, the cat? Is the cat's going to give it to my kids? And blah, blah, blah. So is there anything in your research that has this is going to put you right on the spot. And I'm sorry, but is there anything in your research that has said, uh, anything? Should we worry about it? Should we not worry about it? Do you know if it goes, um, uh, from cats to humans as easily as from humans to cats? Or are we still trying to figure that sort of information out?

Speaker C: So we are still trying to figure that out. But there is a known case of a cat infecting a human that we recently published a really good paper from Thailand.

Speaker A: Right.

Speaker C: Basically, um, somebody got quite severe cold and was put in hospital and their cat was tested at the same time. And when the vet was swabbing the cat, the cat sneezed on the vet and the vet became infected. So it's really bad.

Speaker B: Yeah, but you said that's just one case. I'm not into research.

Speaker C: One known case. There may be more. But I suppose that is the concern. If a virus infects a cat and it's able to jump back into a human, that's a big problem, because with species jumps, that can put a lot of what we call selective pressure on the virus. It can cause it to mutate very quickly and you can have emergence of new variants, potentially.

Speaker A: So worry, however, I have to interrupt here, and I got to bring up the goddess of mutation, which is influenza. Right. And I know we've seen different variants of COVID-19, but, um, COVID-19 appears to be evolving, or mutating, as we would expect to survive longer, and for its host to survive longer. Because if you're a virus and you kill up your host, well, you sort.

Speaker B: Of suck in the way we would want it to evolve.

Speaker A: That's the way we wanted to go. It's adapting to survive longer. Um right. Influenza doesn't really do that. Influenza just randomly mutates.

Speaker C: It goes crazy.

Speaker A: Yeah. We don't even know what causes it to mutate, so it's different. So I don't want people to hear this and think it is like influenza, because there is nothing like influenza when we talk about mutation. Um, and the other thing is, I haven't read that paper, um, with the document in Thailand, out of Thailand, but like, you know me, uh, with my cynic cap, Jason, um, and Grace, I suspect you have a very similar looking cat you put on as you work in researchers.

Speaker C: I do.

Speaker A: With a virus like Sarscopy two that has become endemic in the human population, you would have a very, very difficult time convincing me that that cat was indeed, hands down, the source of COVID infection in that veterinarian.

Speaker B: Yeah, but that one sneeze, right. This is crazy.

Speaker A: Well, it's not the one sneeze. It's the fact that it's endemic in the human population. So it's like once you have communitywide transmission in the community, stop contact tracing because you don't know where you got it, so who cares?

Speaker C: They found that out. They found that out through sequencing. So they sequenced the virus in the cat and the virus in the human, and they were pretty much identical. And while you can't exactly say this 100% very likely, especially when the virus is so identical, because by its nature, COVID is a virus that can mutate quite quickly.

Speaker A: It makes mistakes. Exactly right.

Speaker C: Mistakes in its genome replication. So if I was to infect you, there would probably be a few mutations, and then if you were to infect Jason, there'd be a few more and it accumulates like that. So there is a very good chance it came from that cat.

Speaker A: Yeah, I would agree.

Speaker B: Let's go with, okay, it did give the one cat, gave the veterinarian, the buyers. That's one case. Right. And so the point we're trying to make is, yes, it's a possibility, but it's highly not probable. Is that a fair statement?

Speaker A: Okay, that's fair. And there's stuff you can do to prevent it. Like, you were talking about, like, don't cuddle your cat by your face when you have schmutz coming out your nose and you're coughing, or the cat has.

Speaker B: Schmutz coming out it's nose. Right. You rub all your junk on me.

Speaker A: And if your cat or your dog or even another human or your bird or your ferret, any other creature has respiratory smith dripping out its nose or at its eyes, hey, let's take a hiatus from licking. Don't lick your pet in the face while that's happening. It's just not a good plan. It's disgusting. Rama um, yeah, because some of the headlines, um, surrounding your publication, and I know you probably are not on board with the headlines because they're doing it for Clickbait. And, I mean, there was one that said COVID horror.

Speaker B: Right.

Speaker A: The next thing you, um, was one reason that I was so very excited when we got in touch with you and you said, yes, I'll come on the podcast because I feel like, um, just explaining just like you did is what pet lovers need. I think it's what the population needs to hear. Um, don't hate the cat.

Speaker B: It's a disease. Right?

Speaker A: Yeah. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Right. Yeah.

Speaker B: Because for real, no offense to anyone who's in research or writes research papers, but how many people are going to read this paper? How many people are even going to read the abstract? They're going to read that crazy headline. Okay. I said no offense to you guys. Uh, they're going to read the headline and go, oh my gosh, did you hear that? All cats have covet. You can get rid of, uh, all your cat everywhere. So it's a little frustrating, right. But, uh, the information is great to have, but sometimes it's used inappropriately.

Speaker A: Um, one other thing that I think is interesting, too, is, um, and I didn't realize this that you mentioned that there was a little bit of bias in your, uh, population because you had mostly, um, what we call purebred cats and you guys call pedigree, uh, cats.

Speaker B: I prefer pedigree. Do you think we can make it? I like that one movement here. I like the word pedigree a whole lot better than purebred.

Speaker A: And purebred, I mean, it's I know, yeah. Because there's some pedigree cats I know that are not so pure. M, uh, cats can have different types of hearts. Um, but anyway, um, um, what do you think that does to your results? Or do you interpret your results through that lens any differently?

Speaker C: So with our study, um, in the UK population generally, The cat population is around about 10% pedigree. Um, in our study, it was up around 30%.

Speaker A: Wow.

Speaker C: So it's just a little bit higher. But, um, basically, I suppose it's quite interesting because there's a lot of, um, genetic factors that can affect pedigree cats, but there's also a lot of, um, husbandry factors that can affect pedigree cats. So maybe owners, they've paid thousands of dollars for a cat. They're going to spend a lot of money on it as soon as they get to sniffle. So that we're also more likely to get samples. Um, they're more likely to be indoor cats. Um, so they're going to be with humans more, and there's going to be more of a chance to pass the virus. But also because there's a lot more genetic problems in pedigree cats, unfortunately, their immune systems might be more compromised or they might have a, uh, disease at the same time that can affect their immunity to the virus. So there's a lot of different things it could be, and it could be different for every cat, but yeah, it could be many, many, many things.

Speaker B: I have an idea.

Speaker A: Go ahead.

Speaker B: I don't have them very often, so you have to stop and listen.

Speaker A: I do.

Speaker B: Once a month.

Speaker A: Let me prepare myself.

Speaker B: Maybe we should get Grace together with our friend Dr. Anders Kolhevy in Hong Kong, who says almost all of the cats over there are pedigreed and they can figure out some kind of research situation over there. I don't want to go too much further, but just put my name on the paper and that's all I need. So get it done. I want to see it in six months. Uh, I will give you his information. No, I'm just kidding. But that would be interesting. Right? Follow the podcast. Just recently, we had an interview with almost all of the dogs and cats are in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong. I keep saying when I say pure blood because I watch too much Harry Potter. Pure grief.

Speaker A: Right.

Speaker B: Uh, but I know the pedigree, so I found that interesting. All right, that's my idea. I'm done.

Speaker A: Yeah, I guess, um, a little bit of devil's advocate. If you guys were serving for neutralizing antibodies and you found that more, uh, pedigreed cats were positive for the presence of neutralizing antibodies, uh, wouldn't that indicate actually, that they generated an incredibly robust immune response when faced with the virus?

Speaker C: Um, so I think when we're looking at that, what you need to look at is not so much, um, how many cats have neutralizing antibodies, but the actual proportion of neutralizing to non neutralizing antibodies. Okay, so there's a different test that we can do which checks for every antibody presence. M. That's one of the things that we're working on just now to look for those non neutralizing antibodies. So you need to look okay, what percentage of our positive cats have neutralizing antibodies and what percentage have none. Because if they're about equal for both, just normal domestic muggies, as we call them, and pedigree cats, then you just say, okay, more pedigree cats have been infected and a greater proportion of pedigree cats have been infected with the virus. Okay, but if there is a higher, um, percentage of neutralizing antibodies than pedigree cats, then non neutralizing antibodies, then yeah, maybe pedigree cats are able to better immune response. Or maybe it's the other way around. We don't know yet. But that's definitely something that we could look at.

Speaker A: Yeah, I'm just trying to stand up for.

Speaker B: Someone'S. Got to defend, um, the pedigrees, right? They're getting beat up all over the place.

Speaker A: I love manguns. Himalayans Persians favorite.

Speaker C: Yeah. So when we looked by the sort of most common purebred breeds, so we looked at Abyssinian, we looked at Bengals, all these things, and main coons were the only, um, pedigree cats that came out with a serial prevalence that was lower than the average for the population. No idea why it matters.

Speaker B: Uh, absolutely. No, we do know why. Don't say we don't know why. Absolutely, we know why. The reason is main Coon cats are just awesome. That just proves the point that they're awesome in every single way. This is just a scientific proof of that fact. So good for you.

Speaker A: There you go.

Speaker B: That's right.

Speaker A: I think they can also be a little bit more loose than others. Of course.

Speaker B: Maybe they don't talk to anybody else. They don't breed on anybody.

Speaker A: Right. I mean, like Persians. Persians will walk up to a pile of schmutz and go, oh, I'm going to lick it. Let me stick my face in it. Right. Um, when both of their neurons fire together. Right. But then m the mankun is like, that looks gross. I'm not going near it.

Speaker B: As it's giving it the side eye. Not even the full right.

Speaker A: The side eye. Yes. I love it.

Speaker B: Or they're just an awesome breed of cat. That's pretty much it.

Speaker A: They are. Okay. All right. One final question, Grace, that I have for you is when did you get a cat?

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: Because I know you're going to get a cat.

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: What is there a specific type of cat that you are hoping and hoping in your heart of hearts that you get?

Speaker C: I don't know. I think I just want, uh, just a moggie, as we call them. You know, the cats that just you find them around the back of Starbucks and you're like, yeah, you know, with me. What one of those cats? I love black cats, and I always feel really bad that they're adopted less because people think they're unlucky. But, um, my partner had a black cat, and he was the best. But not a pure red Catoon.

Speaker A: Yes. I love that. That's right. So somewhere behind a Starbucks, there is a moggie looking for you. Looking for you. Yes. Just like somewhere in the universe there is, um, a super smushed face, stupid as the day is long. Himalayan kitty looking for me?

Speaker C: In a mankun for Jason.

Speaker A: Yes, in a mankun for Jason. All right. Um, Jason, do you have any other questions?

Speaker B: Yeah, we always have one more question, especially when you talk to anyone who's doing cutting edge, super contemporary research. What's next? The question is always, what are you working on next? What are you working on? Anything?

Speaker C: So we're working on looking for those more neutralizing antibodies. At the moment. We're also still getting tons and tons of samples through and just really continuing this research. Um, we have a lot of information about the alpha variant, the original ancestral variant, with a lot of information about the delta variants. So at the moment, we're just trying to get a better picture of the Omergorn variants in cats. So that's kind of what we're working on at the moment.

Speaker B: Yeah, I would guess you're going to have a lot of work ahead of you.

Speaker A: Good.

Speaker B: Uh, right, because there's just so much questions, uh, and stuff about this crazy pandemic we all went through as a world, as a global community. As a global community. Yeah, for sure. So good for you. I think it's awesome. So great.

Speaker A: Yeah. So when do you expect to finish your PhD? Are you just at the beginning, in the middle?

Speaker C: I've just, uh, started my second year. So I've only been doing this for a year. I did the human research before that. And yes, in my first year, started my second year. So in a couple of years time.

Speaker A: Will you come back on our podcast and update it as you continue to gather data? I find this acutely interesting, and I know that our listeners will as well, because they're all interested in the health and, um, wellbeing of their lovely creatures. So, Dr. Jason, uh, is that all you have, then?

Speaker B: That's all I got. Final question.

Speaker A: Okay. So soon to, uh, be Dr. Grace Tyson. Thank, um, you so very much for joining us today.

Speaker C: We love it. Thank you.

Speaker A: Yeah, we love it. And we look forward to hearing from you again. Yeah. Uh, uh, so I guess that's it. I'm Dr. Jenna Vet.

Speaker B: And I'm Dr. Jason, and we'll catch.

Speaker A: You guys on the next episode. Okay?

Speaker B: Okay, great.

Speaker A: That was wonderful. I hope seriously, I want you to come back on kind of, um, update us because that was really great.