Thursday, December 7, 2017

Can Your New Cat Make You Sick?

One of the most important reasons to keep your cat healthy is to keep  your family healthy as well.  Kittens are cute, but can be carrying a variety of zoonotic diseases.  Following your veterinarian’s recommendations on routine health care, vaccines, screenings, and wellness exams, may prevent health problems from spreading to you or your family


What is Zoonotic Disease:  a disease that can be transmitted from animals to people or, more specifically, a disease that normally exists in animals but  can infect humans.


How would you catch a disease from your cat?

Transmission of a zoonotic disease can happen when a person comes into direct contact with bodily fluids or waste such as saliva (via a bite) or feces (while handling or cleaning a litter box) from an infected cat. Additionally, a disease may be contracted through contact with water or food that has been contaminated by an infected cat.

What diseases can you catch from your cat?

Bacterial Infection

            Cat-scratch disease/fever is by far the most common zoonotic disease associated with cats

Parasitic Infections

            Intestinal parasites, including roundworms and hookworms, can also cause disease in people

Fungal Infections


Protazoal (single cell organisms) Infections

            Common protozoal diseases in cats and humans are cryptosporidium, giardia, and toxoplasmosis.

Viral Infection


Prevention is of KEY importance.

By identifying any health issues with your cat early, through a veterinary visit and diagnostics as recommended by your veterinarian, you can stay safe. General hygiene practices are also extremely important for any pet owner.

Who is at the highest risk of catching a disease from your cat?

Some people are more at risk than average. Those with immature or weakened immune systems, such as infants, pregnant women, individuals with immunodeficiency problems, the elderly, and people undergoing medical therapies or taking certain medication, are more susceptible to zoonotic infections than others.


How can you protect yourself?

Common sense and good hygiene will go a long way toward keeping you, your family, and your cat free of zoonotic diseases. Here are a few simple precautions recommended by

  • Wash hands before eating and after handling cats.
  • Schedule annual checkups and fecal exams for your cat.
  • Seek veterinary care for sick cats.
  • Keep rabies vaccinations current.
  • Avoid letting your cat lick your face, food utensils, or plate.
  • Consider keeping cats indoors.
  • Seek medical attention for cat bites.
  • Feed cats cooked or commercially processed food.
  • Scoop litter boxes to remove fecal material daily.
  • Periodically clean litter boxes with scalding water and detergent.
  • Cover children's sandboxes when not in use.
Stay safe out there!
Kim, CVT 
Fox Valley Cat Clinic