Toxoplasma gondii can infect almost any warm-blooded animal/human and birds. Infection with T. gondii, a condition called toxoplasmosis, can be very serious in humans. T. gondii can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and cause abortions and congenital defects. In children and adults, it can cause other signs, and is sometimes fatal. It can cause severe disease in persons with poor immune systems such as those undergoing chemotherapy or infected with human immunodeficiency virus (the virus that causes AIDS).
Cats are the only primary hosts; not usually chronic carriers of T. gondii, they are the only mammals in which Toxoplasma is passed through the feces. They tend to acquire it, and then they develop antibodies and they no longer transmit T. gondii. So, in order for a house cat to pass toxoplasmosis to its owner, the cat itself would have to have had a recent exposure to T. gondii itself and do not have circulating antibodies against the infection.
In the cat, the reproductive form of T. gondii lives in the intestine and the oocysts (egg-like immature forms) exit the body through the feces. The oocysts must be in the environment 1-5 days before they are infective. This is important to remember when we discuss preventing infection. Cats only pass T. gondii in their feces for a few weeks after becoming infected. The oocysts can survive several years in the environment and are resistant to most disinfectants.
Outdoor cats tend to be exposed to T. gondii far more frequently than indoor cats, toxoplasmosis in indoor cats is rare. The main sources of infection for a cat are uncooked meat (usually pork), infected prey, so a cat who lives only indoors is unlikely to be exposed unless the owner regularly feeds the cat raw meat or as kittens in utero or through the mummy cat's milk. Humans, dogs, and other mammals usually become infected through meat, raw milk from infected goats, and accidental ingestion of cat's fecal material from hands or on food so do not just focus on cats.
It is unlikely you will become infected by petting an infected cat. The oocysts do not tend to stick to the fur like roundworm eggs might. The cat, while grooming, would generally remove any oocysts on the fur, before they become infective. It is unlikely that you can become infected through cat bites or scratches. All in all, the risk of acquiring T. gondii from a house cat is rather low.
Do's & Don'ts
Do's & Don'ts
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat. Meat should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F for 20 minutes, both human and cat. Poorly cooked pork, lamb and venison possess the most risk.
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk, both human and cat.
- Do not eat unwashed fruits and vegetables.
- Wash hands and food preparation surfaces with warm soapy water after handling raw meat.
- Wear gloves when gardening, wash hands after gardening.
- Wash hands before eating (especially children).
- Keep children’s sandboxes and playpens covered when not in use.
- Do not drink water from the environment unless it is boiled.
- Do not allow cats to hunt or roam. Keep your cat indoors.
- Do not allow cats to use a garden or children’s play area as their litter box.
- Remove feces from the litter box daily. Use boiling water and bleach to sanitize litter boxes. Remember, however, that bleach does not always kill the oocysts. T. gondii are infectious between 1 and 5 days after the cat defecates.
- Control rodent populations and other potential intermediate hosts.
- Pregnant women, and persons with suppressed immune systems, should not clean the litter box. Get someone else to change the cat litter if you can, and if you can't, wear gloves and wash your hands carefully after changing the box.
- Be careful around stray cats and kittens, and avoid getting a new cat while pregnant. Minimize the contact of pregnant women with cats.
- Have the woman and the cat’s Toxoplasma antibody titer checked. Positive titer in a healthy animal or human indicates they can’t contract the disease now because they did in the past. Antibody negative cats and women can still become infected during pregnancy and so are at greater risk.
|Petting a cat should be OK for preggers but avoid cleaning the littertray urself..ask the husband to do it for you..hahahaha|
|I really want to have one of these for my kitties..can be used as decorative item...and serve its purpose well - to hide the litter tray..|
Credit to CDC and peteducation.com