What diseases can my cat give me?
Cats, as opposed to dogs, are fastidiously clean creatures. But you'll still have to employ a few sanitary solutions yourself if you want to avoid catching a disease off 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 headache. To reduce the risk, play with your cat using a stick 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, which can be passed on to humans from accidental ingestion of faeces. To limit risk, your cat should have regular worming and flea control and owners should always ensure they wash their hands after emptying litter trays.
Ringworm is a fungal infection, which causes scaly red rings on the skin. It's not only very easily spread by human-to-human contact, but between cats and humans too. It can usually be cleared up by taking a prescribed medicine for a few weeks.
Notable mentions and good hygiene
Toxoplasmosis, salmonella and cryptosporidiosis are some other diseases you can catch from your cat, the risk of which can all be reduced by following a few good hygiene techniques.
As well as keeping your cats environment and belongings clean, here are some tips from Dr Adam Sternberg at Greencross Vets Brookvale
“Always wash your hands after playtime and before you eat. This will assist with washing off bacteria, parasitic eggs and fungal spores
“Dispose of faeces promptly and use gloves or dedicated shovels to clean litter trays and use gardening gloves when outside.
“Ensure your cat is healthy by regularly worming, and being consistent with your flea and tick control. Regular health check-ups are also recommended.
“If you are pregnant it is recommended not to have your cat in your bed.
“The elderly, the very young, pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, people with HIV or people with depleted immune systems are most vulnerable to becoming sick.”