Your Cat and Your Pregnancy – Toxoplasmosis Warning

It is commonly thought that pregnant women should not own cats due to the chance of disease being spread from one to the other that will affect the human fetus. Toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by contact with feline feces, can cause serious problems in unborn babies. Cats only spread this disease for a few weeks following infection with the parasite. The infection will go away on its own, making testing of your cat’s feces futile. The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis needs one or more days after being passed to become infectious.

Don’t panic. Fluffy doesn’t have to move out. Exposure can be curtailed by expecting mothers with just a little forethought. Keeping your cat indoors and feeding it canned or dry cat food is one step to prevention. Cats who kill and consume wild game or who are fed table scraps are more likely to contract toxoplasmosis. Avoid stray cats or kittens who may have taken up residence near your home. Don’t adopt a new cat or kitten while you are pregnant.

Avoid contact with the litter box. Assign the daily cleaning routine to a family member or friend. Be sure to wear gloves while gardening – cats often use soil as litter when outdoors. Keep your hands clean, especially after petting your cat.

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