Health and Safety

Illnesses You Can Catch from Your Cat


When you adopt a cat, you may already be prepared for some dirt and impurity now and again. Usually, people who morbidly obsesses with germs choose not to adopt furry friends, to begin with. However, catching something from your cat is definitely more than you probably bargained for. Fortunately, most of the illnesses you can get from felines can be prevented and treated easily. You simply have to be aware of preventative measures, what symptoms to look for what to do if you end up catching something.


If your cat likes to spend time outdoors, you may decide that your feline was born free and should live as it pleases. However, it is important to keep in mind that a cat that spends at least some of the time outdoors can contract worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, that can be passed on to humans. While it is not something to obsess about, you should be aware of how worms can be transmitted and take steps to prevent it.

Cats come in contract parasites when they are exposed to certain kinds of animals, such as rodents or the feces of other cats. Part of the problem with treating worms as the evidence may not be visible at first and an animal or human can be affected for a while before they show any symptoms. If your cat spends part of the time outdoors, a veterinarian should give it a regular anti-worming treatment as a precautionary measure.

Fleas are one of the most common agents for transmitting worm infections. Fleas make contact with feces that contain eggs or with the worms themselves. If you notice that your cat is attracting fleas, take care of that issue to prevent a worm problem from developing. A cat simply needs to swallow one infected flea to have a full-blown worm infection. Once the dead flea has found its way inside the cat’s body, the worms that live inside the flea have a warm environment to reproduce. Obviously, a human being who accidentally ingests a flea can be vulnerable to worms can take hold directly inside the body.

Extra care should be taken when dealing with cat feces. Cats that have worms living inside their bodies can defecate eggs or actual worms into the litter box. Make sure that you empty the cat’s litter box several times a day and change the actual litter a couple of times a week. Wash your hands after handling litter or wear protective gloves. Make sure you also keep your children away from the litter box. Wash your hands thoroughly before eating any food and instruct children to do the same.

Roundworm is one of the most common parasites in felines. They can be up to 4 inches long and kittens can catch them from mother’s milk. Around 10,000 children become infected with roundworms each year. In pets, the symptoms include diarrhea, worms that can be seen in the feces, constipation, vomiting, and coughing. Humans also may cough uncontrollably when they are infected with roundworms and experience pain in the abdomen and blood in the feces. If untreated, extreme cases can cause blindness in human beings. In both animals and people, anti-parasitic drugs can remove the problem. While special food should not be a replacement for adequate medical care, studies have shown that spices such as garlic, ginger, and turmeric can prevent an infection of worms

Concerns about worm infestation can be the best argument in favor of keeping your cat indoors. Not only is your cat constantly at risk for worm infection if be spends time outside, but your cat can also become exposed to a host of other illnesses that could shorten its lifespan. Cats are at the risk of predators if they spend time outside and can become vulnerable to attack. If the cat is bitten by a dog, a feral cats or another animal, it could contract rabies or other severe illnesses in addition to sustaining injury. For a longer and healthier life, it is better to choose an indoor cat or make sure to have your cat spayed or neutered as a way of keeping it inside and controlling the pet population.

Even if you do decide to let your cat roam outside now and again, an important preventative measure for keeping your home free of fleas and other pests is to make sure that it is always clean. While cleanliness cannot keep out all pests, it is easier to spot fleas in a clean home. Cleanse surfaces and floors with bleach or disinfectant to eliminate the germs that can cause illnesses to spread from cats to humans.

You may love the idea of adopting kittens, but baby animals are vulnerable to carrying a common disease called Campylobacter which can cause severe diarrhea in human beings. In addition to kittens, horses, rabbits, puppies and birds can also carry this bacteria. The symptoms can be serious at first and be exhibited through gastrointestinal infection which can include fever, cramps, and pain in addition to diarrhea.

It can be transmitted through contact with feces and mouth, which is another reason why it is important to wash hands thoroughly after changing litter box. Other causes of this bacterial infection include eating contaminated food or under-cooked poultry. Many people who have this ailment believe that they have the flu, and the symptoms can pass after a few days, although in some cases, medication is needed. If you notice your kitten has diarrhea, take him or her to the vet right away and avoid handling the kitten too much until it is treated.

Cat scratch disease is an infection from a microbe called Bartonella which lives in the nails of cat’s claw and can enter the bloodstream through a scratch or bite. Cat owners should know that almost half of all cats have this infestation at some point in their lives. Symptoms usually appear within a week or two of the scratch or bite occurring and are characterized by enlarged lymph nodes close to the area. Other symptoms include decreased appetite, headache, muscular pains and abdominal pains. Humans can usually recover from this ailment on their own, although medication is often prescribed. In rare cases, cat scratch disease can cause neurological or cardiac problems. Endocarditis caused by Bartonella can be fatal.  For people who do not recover from the Bartonella infection, there may be damage to the liver, the eyes, and the central nervous system. Kittens are more prone to carry the bacteria in their bloodstream than adult cats because older cats build up an immunity. In addition to scratches producing the infection, fleas and ticks can also carry the bacteria.

Preventing cat scratch disease involves washing your hands after handling feces or a cat with diarrhea, keeping all areas of the home clean, making sure your cat has his regular immunizations, and being on the lookout for fleas and ticks. If your cat scratches or bites you, clean the area with alcohol and if you feel a swelling in the lymph nodes, see a doctor right away. Keep in mind that it may take a week or two for symptoms to show. Also, make sure your cat’s nails are clean and trimmed

Cats are predatory animals and love to go hunting for a nice juicy mouse. However, if you are planning to have a baby or are pregnant, it is important to be aware of the risks of Toxoplasmosis. If your cat remains indoors most of the time, your risks for this disease are much lower, unless, of course, your cat finds a mouse in your home. Toxoplasmosis is caused by an infection the cat receives when it hunts and eats raw prey. If a woman receives the infection before becoming pregnant, it could cause problems for the fetus including eye irregularities and brain damage. Adult cats often build up an immunity for toxoplasmosis and kittens are more susceptible. Toxoplasmosis is the main reason why doctors recommend that pregnant women who have cats avoid changing the litter box themselves. It can also be caused by eating undercooked lamb or pork and can also be passed to a host through contaminated water.

Although Toxoplasmosis can be quite dangerous for a fetus, it is treatable in humans, but unfortunately, often has no symptoms. It is estimated that 60 million people in the United States have this parasite and don’t realize it. Those who do experience symptoms have swollen lymph nodes, a headache, sore throats, muscle pains and a fever. Those who have weakened immune systems can be particularly susceptible to infection. More serious forms of Toxoplasmosis can lead to a brain inflammation or an eye infection.

Many mammals can carry toxoplasmosis, but the eggs can only reproduce and cats. That is the reason why this particular ailment is most closely associated with felines. To become infected with toxoplasmosis, a human has to ingest a small amount of cat feces, which is why washing hands with warm water is particularly important and using gloves when clearing litter box is essential. If you are pregnant, planning to have a baby and are the only one available to clean the litter box, keep in mind that if you wear gloves, wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the box, and clear the box several times a day, you can prevent an infection of Toxoplasmosis. The bacteria is not infectious until 1 to 5 days after the feces is produced.

If you are concern that you may have Toxoplasmosis, it is necessary to have a blood test to see if there are antibodies produced against the parasite. There is a difference between testing positive for antibodies and testing positive for the infection. The production of antibodies demonstrates that you have been exposed to the microbe, but don’t necessarily have an infection. If your tests come back positive for antibodies and the infection and you are pregnant, a doctor will look at the amniotic fluid and do an ultrasound to see if the fetus has been infected. A baby who is been infected with Toxoplasmosis could face developmental problems in its brain, lungs, heart or eyes.

If you are not pregnant and test positive for Toxoplasmosis, your doctor may recommend treating it, even though it will probably go away on its own. In serious cases, it can cause problems for eyes and for the internal organs. People infected with HIV should get immediate treatment if they test positive for toxoplasmosis.

Although rabies is most closely associated with dogs, cats can also be infected with it. Another reason to keep your cat indoors is to avoid the possibility of your cat being bitten by a rabid animal such as a dog, a bat, a raccoon or rat. Rabies is a severe disease that is usually fatal and it affects the central nervous system. Once a cat is bitten by a carrier for rabies, the virus is transmitted through the salivary glands into the cat’s body. The virus then spreads to the muscles and the nerves and affects the entire nervous system. The virus incubates within the animal’s body for 1 to 3 months, although this timeframe can vary widely. Once the animal shows symptoms, the progress of the disease is quick and usually deadly.

Not all animals who have rabies behave in the same way. The two main types of rabies behaviors are known as paralytic and furious. After the central nervous system has been attacked, the animal will either show extremely aggressive behavior and will attack or become dull and weak. If your cat has been in a fight with another animal, it is important to take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. You should have your cat vaccinated regularly for rabies, but it is still worthwhile to use caution. Some symptoms of rabies include fever, seizures, difficulty swallowing, lack of muscular coordination, excitability, and sudden behavioral changes.

If you suspect that your cat might be infected with rabies, it should be quarantined for at least 10 days. If the cat is exhibiting attack behavior, you must make sure that animal control can get the cat for you rather than risk being scratched or bitten yourself. Often cats with rabies will die while they are being quarantined or else they will be put to sleep. If it is determined that your cat did indeed have rabies, you must provide information about anybody who came into contact with the cat’s saliva. Areas where the infected cat came into contact should be disinfected thoroughly. If you are bitten by a wild animal or a cat that may have rabies, you may have to do follow-up shots to ensure that you are free of the disease. Rabies can be fatal in human beings and it is important to be aware of the risks.

You may take precautions against roundworm and hookworm, but ringworm is not a worm at all, but it is a skin infection caused by fungus. Cats can pass ringworm on to humans, and this fungus often develops in areas where there are a lot of animals. One of the main symptoms is dry scaly patches on the skin or skin that has a grayish color. In human beings, the affected area will appear as a red area with rings around it. This lesion may itch and cause other types of discomfort. Ringworm is passed from the infected animal’s skin or fur to other cats or to humans. The irritation is caused by spores of fungus which are hard to see and difficult to eliminate from the home. Children are particularly vulnerable to ringworm, and it is important to pay attention to marks on the skin that show infestation. Kittens and older cats tend to be more prone to ringworm infections. This fungus is highly contagious and often spreads rapidly in animal shelters. As soon as you suspect your cat has ringworm, it is important to take the cats to the veterinarian to make sure it is treated before the fungus spreads.

Ringworm can be difficult to diagnose and often starts with a quarantine. Some veterinarians use ultraviolet light determine whether the fungus is present, while others take a fungal culture from the cats. The usual treatment for ringworm is a shampoo or cream that can kill the fungus. In some cases, the cat may need to take oral medication. The fungus spreads quickly and often returns, so there may need to be follow-up treatments before the problem is completely eliminated. Other pets in the household should be bathed with the medicated shampoo, and make sure that all bedding and toys are completely cleansed. Get rid of items that cannot be disinfected and vacuum carpets and other areas that hold cat hair. If the ringworm is not treated, the cat can suffer from skin infections and hair loss.

We love our cats and want to make sure that they live long happy lives. We are also concerned about Illnesses that can spread to humans, especially to vulnerable children and pregnant women who can pass bacterial or viral infections on to fetuses. Just as with any anything else in your home, it is important to make sure that you are aware of proper care and maintenance when dealing with cats. There is no need to deprive yourself of the joys of feline companionship because you are frightened of certain diseases. A car, for instance, can be the most dangerous thing that you can own and yet with proper attention and care, it can provide years of safe and effective service. A gas range can be potentially deadly, but if you are aware of the warning signs and how to maintain it, it need not cause any problems. While a cat is not a functional item like the stove or a car, a similar principle can be applied. As long as you’re aware of the kind of illnesses that can be passed from a cat to a human and implement preventive measures, chances are you may never catch anything from your cat.

For women who are pregnant or planning to have children and have cats, it is important to avoid changing the litter box yourself, or if you have to, make sure to scoop out any feces immediately before can become infected and use gloves. Washing hands with warm water and soap is necessary before eating anything. Make sure your children are trained to do this from an early age since children are often more vulnerable to infections passed on by cats than adults.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to make sure that your cat is up to date on all vaccinations. This is particularly important if your cat spends some of the time outdoors. If your cat is showing signs of diarrhea or is eating excessively, that might be a sign of worms or another parasitic infection, and you should take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. Be on the lookout for fleas and ticks that can carry parasitic diseases and make sure your home is cleaned regularly with a disinfectant. Clear out your cat box litter at least every day, because feces that has been sitting around is more likely to carry infection.

While you may enjoy giving your cat his or her freedom. There are many reasons to consider keeping your cat indoors. Indoor cats avoid many of the problems faced by outdoor cats such as infections from eating rodents or raw meat, getting into fights that can cause severe injury and infection and other diseases that can shorten your cat’s life. While indoor cats may suffer from a number of ailments, they tend not to come in contact with severely infected animals. If your cat does go outside now and again.

Make sure that you examine him or her regularly for bites and lesions. Examine the skin underneath the fur for any red marks or scaly patches that could indicate fungal infections. Staying alert common problems is the first step towards protecting your family against illnesses that can be transmitted from cats to humans.

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