Cat and Human Pregnancy
We have two wonderful cats that have been an enjoyable part of our life for several years. We love them dearly. Now we are expecting our first baby and were recently told it is dangerous to be around cats when you are pregnant. What is the danger? We can’t think of giving up our beloved cats.
You should not have to give up your cats. I can tell you are very attached to your cats like I am to mine. They add so much pleasure to our lives.
The danger you asked about is probably toxoplasmosis. Cats can be a major carrier of this infectious disease. The disease can infect many animals, including humans. Cats and other wild felines are the primary carriers of this parasitic infection. It mainly is an intestinal parasite that sheds its infective eggs in the catís bowel movements. Other animals do not shed the eggs in the bowel movement, but may have organisms in the tissues and milk.
Many cats that have toxoplasmosis may show little or no signs of illness. Occasionally, some cats can become quite sick if the organism gets into the body tissues and blood stream from the intestinal tract.
There are no accurate tests to detect the infection in your cats, especially at a time when they may be shedding parasite eggs in their bowel movements.
Toxoplasmosis causes very little or no health problems to humans, with the exception of pregnant women. If the expectant mother contracts the disease, it can cause abortions, still birth, and defects to the unborn baby.
As the expectant mother, the precautions you should take are to observe good sanitation and watch what you eat. Follow these recommendations:
- Have someone else in the family clean and change the catís litter box.
- Wear gloves when gardening to keep contaminated soil off of your hands.
- Cook all meat well done, especially lamb.
- Do not drink raw milk (unpasteurized), especially goatís milk.
- Wash your hands often, especially when preparing foods.
With a few precautions and a lot of love, I am sure your cats will soon be curiously adjusting to your beautiful new baby!