Can Your Cat Make You Sick?


Can Your Cat Make You Sick?  Cats are cute and adorable but yes, they can pass on some diseases that you need to be aware of.
Zoonoses or Zoonotic diseases are conditions or diseases transmitted from animals to people
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feline-diseases
Young people and pregnant women are more susceptible to catch these feline diseases.

But help is at  hand, no need to panic. Prevention is better than cure.

To avoid catching diseases from your outdoor cat there are some precautions you can take:
  • Wash your hands before and after handling cats.
  • Wash cat bowls separately from your own crockery.
  • Feed your pet high nutritional value food, never raw food.
  • Treat cat regularly for fleas, ticks and worms.
  • Discard used litter in a plastic bag or sealed container.
  • Discard cat faeces from the garden into a sealed container.
  • Do not allow your pet to lick your face or your plate.
  • Do not kiss your cat on its mouth or face.
  • Do not allow your cat to walk on kitchen counter and sink.
  • Do not allow your cat near food preparation areas.
  • Do not allow your cat to jump onto the table.
  • Do not allow your cat to bite your pens or hair brushes.
  • Do not allow your cat sleep on your pillow or sheets.
  • Do not handle soil with bare hands where cats use as a litter tray.
  • Wear gloves when changing litter tray and wash your hands.
  • Sanitize litter trays regularly to kill any residue bacteria.
  • Sanitize areas where your cat has brought a "prey gift" into the house.
  • Dispose quickly of the prey your cat has brought into the house.
  • Avoid walking barefoot where your pet walks around.
  • Wash garden vegetables well before cooking.

Most common diseases:

Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is caused by a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, found in most birds and rodents.

Cats are natural predators, therefore can easily get infected by Toxoplasma parasite by eating birds, rodents and by coming into contact with faeces from an infected cat.

A cat infected with Toxoplama will discard infected faeces for about 2 weeks.  This parasite can then survive for months even whilst exposed to the elements.

Cross contamination can occur when in contact with infected cat faeces, infected soil, litter or any area that has used as a toilet by an infected cat. 

This parasite can be transmitted cat to person but not from person to person.  However, Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted to the fetus via the placenta.  In extreme cases, result in miscarriage in pregnant women.

Pregnant women can still be in contact with cats, but need to take extra care during and after handling cats.  Extra hygiene precautions and avoid touching the face before washing their hands.

Most infected people do not display symptoms but young people are most at risk.  People with a weak immune system should also take particular care.
Always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap after  touching a cat.

Cats are not the only carriers, poorly cooked meat can also carry this disease.

Symptoms: flu like symptoms, tiredness, body ache, high temperature, nausea and sore throat.


Cat Scratch Disease or Bartonellosis (Bartonella hensolae)
Cat scratch disease is transmitted when someone is bitten or scratched by a cat.   Cats can get infected by fleas.
High risk groups include young children.  Adults can also be affected but symptoms normally clear naturally over time.

If you have been scratched by a cat, regardless of age, wash your skin with sanitizer and lots of water.

Symptoms: tiredness, swollen lymph nodes, appetite loss, rash,  achy joints and high temperature.


Ringworm
 Ringworm is caused by a fungus which can infect the skin.

This fungal infection can be transmitted from cats with infected skin or fur through to people.  Other small animals can also pass on this infection.

Contamination can also occur by the infected cat spreading fungal spores  to his home.  Fungal spores can survive in the environment for months.  This infection can me transmitted between people.

The infected cat should remain in quarantine until treated.  Remaining rooms and areas should then be sanitized.

Infected cat could be treated by tablet as prescribed by the Vet.  Humans can be treated by anti fungal creams.

Symptoms: tiredness, red itchy circle on the skin.


Salmonella or Campylobacter or Staphylococci
Salmonella is the biggest cause of food poisoning.
Cats carry this bacterial disease in their faeces.  They can get infected by eating birds and mice.   People can get infected due to poor hygiene conditions.  Once an area is contaminated, it is highly contagious.  Sanitizing the area is a must to eliminate bacteria.

High risk groups include young children and pregnant women.

Infected cats can be treated with antibiotics.  Reputable catteries regularly dose their cats to reduce the risk of infection.

Symptoms: diarrhea, high temperature, nausea and stomach ache.


Fleas
Fleas can cause Flea Bite Dermatitis and spread Tapeworm.  Cats, rodents and outdoor areas may carry fleas.

Fleas are parasites that suck blood from small animals and humans.  These can survive a long time without a host to feed on.

Areas containing larva (flea eggs hatched) should be medically treated before cats should be allowed back into a room.

Cats should be treated safely and regularly with "Frontline drop" .  Powders and sprays are stressful for cats and not as effective!

Symptoms: tiredness, red skin bites, itchy skin, skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Stay Safe

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