A young sand cat died in the Ramat Gan Safari and was sent to be tested at the Pathological Center in Bet Dagan, Channel 13 News reported on Friday morning.
Once at the Pathological Institute, the sand cat was sent to the Department of Virology after initial testing showed a "high likelihood" of coronavirus, based on initial symptoms shown by the small feline, a source at the institute told Channel 13.
On Thursday, two housecats in New York became the first pets in the US to be diagnosed with COVID-19.US authorities maintain, however, that there is still no evidence that the virus could be transmitted from animals to humans.
The CDC said coronavirus infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19.
Earlier this month, a study conducted by a team at China's Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, the study – which was published on the website bioRxv and has yet to be peer-reviewed – concluded that cats, as well as ferrets, were susceptible and could catch as well as transmit COVID-19.
In late March a cat in Belgium tested positive for COVID-19. The cat first exhibited symptoms of coronavirus about a week after its owner also became sick following a trip to Italy.
According to a report by Live Science, the cat recovered after just nine days.
A week later, a tiger and a lion also tested positive at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, after contracting the virus from an asymptomatic zookeeper.