New Delhi: After a tiger in New York zoo contracted COVID-19, five stray cats caught from a coronavirus ward of a general hospital in Kerala have died on Thursday. The death of the cats prompted the officials to send the vital organs of the animals for detailed examination in Thiruvananthapuram. Also Read - Two Asymptomatic People in Kerala Test COVID-19+ Despite Completing 14-day Quarantine

After conducting a preliminary postmortem, the officials of the hospital did not detect any trace of COVID-19 and experts felt that stress could be the reason behind the death of the cats. Also Read - Kerala Police Releases Drone-monitoring Montage Amid COVID-19 Lockdown, Laced With 'Tracer Bullet' Commentary | Watch Here

To know the exact reason of their deaths, Kerala’s animal husbandary department officials decided to send the vital organs of the cats to the State Institute of Animal Disease Centre in Thiruvananthapuram for detailed examinations. Also Read - Good News! India's Oldest Covid-19 Survivor, Wife Discharged in Kerala

“Since the cats were caught from the COVID ward, the postmortem was conducted. No trace of COVID-19 could be detected, we decided to send the internal organs to Thiruvananthapuram,” Dr Tito Joseph, who conducted the postmortem, told PTI.

The death of the cats in Kerala comes at a time when the Central government has put zoos in the country on highest alert and asked them to collect samples fortnightly in suspected cases after a tiger at a US zoo tested positive for coronavirus.

The doctor said that the organs of the cats would be sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) lab in Bhopal for further examination.