What diseases can my cat give me?
Although cats are known for their cleanliness, there are some things to watch out for. Cats (like most animals) can transmit parasites or other infections to humans. A few simple sanitary solutions will prevent you from catching a disease from the family feline.
Cat scratch disease
As the name suggests, cat scratch disease is transmitted via bacteria from a bite or scratch. The disease causes lymph nodes to swell, usually resulting in a fever or a headache. To reduce the risk, play with your cat using a toy to avoid being scratched.
Kittens, rather than adult cats, are most likely to become infected with hookworms and can transmit the eggs in their stools. Symptoms in humans range from skin infections to intestinal bleeding and abdominal pain. To reduce risk, owners should de-worm their cat and wash their hands after playtime.
Tapeworm is a parasite associated with flea infections. It can be passed onto humans from accidental ingestion of faecal matter. To limit risk, your cat should have regular worming and flea control. And always wash your hands after emptying litter trays.
Ringworm is a fungal infection which causes scaly red rings on the skin. It’s very easily spread by human-to-human and animal-to-humans contact. It can usually be cleared up by taking a prescribed medicine for a few weeks. Prevent transmission by keeping your cat up-to-date with their worming regime, and washing your hands after handling.
Tips for good hygiene
Risk of contracting an infection can be reduced by following a few good hygiene techniques.
- always wash your hands after playtime and before you eat to wash off bacteria, parasitic eggs, and fungal spores
- dispose of faeces promptly and use gloves or dedicated shovels to clean litter trays
- ensure your cat is healthy by regularly worming, and being consistent with your flea and tick control.
- regular veterinary health check-ups are recommended
- avoid cleaning litter or being scratched or bitten if you are pregnant
Those most at risk
- the elderly
- the very young
- pregnant women
- those on chemotherapy treatment
- people with HIV
- people with depleted immune systems
To learn more about keeping your pets and family safe from disease, contact your local Greencross Vets.