Can Humans Catch Diseases from Felines?
When you are considering getting a kitty for yourself or family, the first question that comes to mind is can you catch diseases from felines? You are not likely to catch diseases from cats but it can happen.
Cat to Human Contagious Diseases
Some people believe that humans can get sick just from touching a cat. This is not true at all. You are more likely to sick from gardening than you are from handling a cat. There are certain illnesses that you can get from a cat however. One would be cat scratch fever. If a cat scratches you and the scratch is deep enough to cause bleeding, wash the area immediately and use either peroxide or an antibiotic cream. This should prevent any infection, but watch the area closely. Cat scratch fever occurs when humans are exposed to a specific type of bacteria commonly found in domestic cats. The bacteria is more concentrated in kittens. Most people exposed to the bacteria have minimal symptoms that don't require extensive medical treatment. People who have an immune system disease, cancer, organ transplant, or children under the age of 5 are more prone to catch cat illnesses. These people should not clean a kitty litter or garden where cats may have gone to the bathroom. Children under the age of 5 should not play in an uncovered sandbox and should be supervised when playing with cats.
The most common cat to human disease will come when cleaning your cat's litter box. Cats can carry a parasite in their feces called toxoplasmosis. If this touches your hands and you inadvertently touch your mouth, you can get an infection.The most serious problems from cats will occur to the fetus in pregnant women, and there will not always be signs of illness in the women herself. Toxoplasmosis can cause mental retardation to the baby. For this reason, pregnant women should not be in charge of cleaning out cat litter (hand that scooper over to dad!) Because cats go to the bathroom in more places than just the litter box, pregnant women should also take precautions while gardening or handling soil. Wear gardening gloves and wash hands after working outdoors for the most protection.
Some people worry so much about catching diseases from cats, they will avoid owning a cat altogether, but the risks of cat to human contagious diseases are rare. For instance, to get tapeworm from a pet, a human must ingest an infected flea. This can be avoided simply by using flea control. Even better, keep your cat indoors and the risk of it having fleas is extremely low. Not only will keeping the cat indoors reduce risks to humans, but it will also be better for the cat's health and well-being. One serious cat illness that people are concerned about catching from a cat is Feline HIV. Put your mind at ease. Feline HIV is not transmittable to humans and only affects cats.
So go ahead and get that cute lovable, cuddly kitty that you have been wanting without having to worry about getting sick. When you own any pet, you need to take proper care of them. The same is true for cats. If you take care of them and their litter box properly, you have nothing to worry about.