How Common Is Toxoplasmosis
The frequency of toxoplasmosis varies greatly worldwide. Its most common in Central America and Central Africa. This is most likely because of the climate in these areas. Humidity affects how long toxoplasma cysts remain infectious.
Local culinary customs also play a role. Areas where meat is served raw or undercooked have higher rates of infection. The use of fresh meat that has not been previously frozen is also associated with a greater risk of infection.
In the United States, an estimated of people between ages 6 to 49 have been infected by toxoplasmosis.
Relationship Between Cat And Womans Pregnancy
Cats can carry the parasite, Toxoplasma gondii known to be infested when they hunt mice or birds and then get lodged inside the intestine of the cat. Later this parasite is transmitted through feces of cats. This can lead to contamination of the pregnant woman via cat litter, known as toxoplasmosis.
What Can Cat Litter Do To A Pregnant Woman
The myth about cats giving pregnant women toxoplasmosis has been causing misery for a long time. Pregnant women can transmit toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic disease, to their unborn babies, and a toxoplasmosis infection can lead to miscarriage or cause malformed babies.
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Precautions Against Toxoplasmosis For Your Household Cat
Cats are only infectious for a few weeks after ingesting the parasites and kittens are more likely to pass on the infection than older cats. Suggestions on reducing the risk of infection in your cat include:
- Keep your cat indoors whenever possible.
- Dont allow the cat to hunt and eat birds or other wildlife.
- Feed your cat canned or dry foods, instead of raw meat .
The Likelihood Of Contracting Toxoplasmosis
Because it’s difficult for cats to transmit toxoplasmosis directly to their caregivers, a pregnant woman is generally unlikely to contract the disease from her pet cat.
Several factors keep the chance of such transmission low.
- Only cats who ingest tissue cysts get infected. Within the feline population, this would be limited to outdoor cats who hunt and eat rodents, as well as cats who are fed raw meat by their owners.
- Typically a cat only excretes oocystsis when she is first exposed to T. gondii, and this goes on for only two weeks. An outdoor hunting cat is often exposed to the disease as a kitten and is, therefore, less likely to transmit the infection as she ages.
- Because oocysts only become infective after one to five days, exposure to the disease is unlikely as long as you clean the cat’s litter box daily.
- Since oocysts are transmitted by ingestion, in order to contract toxoplasmosis, a woman would have to make contact with contaminated feces in the litter box and then, without washing her hands, touch her mouth or otherwise transmit the contaminated fecal matter to her digestive system.
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Known Health Risks With Cat Urine And Feces
Cat urine and cat feces can be potentially fatal to humans, and can potentially trigger breathing issues caused by certain cat litter fumes when the litter is in transit.
According to the National Pet Owners Survey 68% of US households, or about 85 million families, own a pet.
Of those families, 60 million own a dog and 47.1 million households own a cat.
The actual number of cats in the US is 94.2 millionincluding stray and feral cats as well as homes with multiple cats.
How Common Is Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy
The chances of becoming infected with Toxoplasmosis while youre pregnant are slim.
According to Tommys.org, a charity for babies, only
- 190 cases were recorded in a five-year period between 2008 2012, and
- 1 in 10,000 babies is born with Toxoplasmosis in the UK
While the risk of becoming infected with Toxoplasmosis is real, the chances are small. The chances of getting it from your cat are even smaller.
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Can You Pet A Cat When Pregnant
The sudden awareness of the harm cat litter can bring may make you question the very presence of a pet animal in your home. Maybe your child wants to bring in a cat around the same time that youve got pregnant. It works to your benefit in knowing what aspects of an animal are harmless, and which ones deem extra precaution.
- Cat litter is definitely a matter of concern when you are pregnant because of the presence of toxins and parasite in the faeces. At times, if your pregnancy complications are risky, doctors might suggest staying away from any pet animals, at least for the initial trimester, if not the entire pregnancy.
- While keeping a pet cat, keeping its diet restricted to food cooked at home or using canned equivalents can keep it protected from any infections.
- It is necessary to check if you are allergic to cat fur or any kind of animal hair. As long as that isnt the case, keeping a cat at home and playing around with it isnt harmful at all.
Is It Safe To Clean A Litter Box While Pregnant
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If you’re a cat owner and you’re considering having a baby, you might be wondering if it’s safe for you to change your cat’s litter box. Perhaps you’re pregnant and thinking about adopting a cat, but you’re worried you won’t be able to clean your cat’s litter box. Don’t worry, we did some digging around to find out if cleaning a litter box while pregnant is safe for you to do.
A pregnant woman is at risk for catching a disease known as Toxoplasmosis. While the risk exists, it’s actually small and can be mitigated by taking a few simple steps. When handled correctly, it is okay for pregnant women to clean a litter box.
Now is a great time to cuddle up next to your favorite feline friend and read below for a roundup of some important tips that will keep you and your unborn baby safe and healthy during your pregnancy while continuing to provide excellent care for your cat.
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Introduce Nursery Sights Smells And Sounds Early
As soon as you can, set up your babys nursery so that your cat can check it out. Apply the baby soap and lotion youll be using to your hand or body and let him smell it. Turn on the baby swing so he gets familiar with the noise. You could even let him sniff a diaper.
A few weeks before your due date, make the crib, changing table, baby swing and other surfaces off limits. Cats dont like sticky surfaces, so if you cut out some cardboard the same size as the furniture and cover one side with double-sided tape, your pet will learn to stay off.
Youre More Likely To Be Infected By Your Food
While its not impossible to be exposed to toxoplasmosis through your cats litter box, most people are infected by other means. Unwashed fruits and vegetables are a common culprit. Be wary of any prepackaged salads. Raw and undercooked meat may contain not just toxoplasmosis but a variety of other pathogens. Wash your food and hands and make sure meat is fully cooked.
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What Can Toxoplasmosis Do To An Unborn Baby
Toxoplasmosis can be fatal to unborn babies since it can be passed on from mother to child via the placenta. It can lead to miscarriages and stillbirths. If an infected baby does survive there is the chance that the baby could have damage to their brain or other organs particularly their eyes. Many times, there is no sign of damage caused by toxoplasmosis at birth. The baby could appear completely normal. But as the baby starts to grow and get older signs of damage from this disease could start to appear in childhood or even all the way up to adulthood. The most common impairment caused by toxoplasmosis is eye damage. In the most serious cases, the inflicted person could go blind or even have some brain damage.
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Needless to say, it would be wise for pregnant women to avoid going anywhere near a cats litter box. This isnt something that should be compromised. Staying away from your kittys droppings and their potty area is for the safety of you and your little one. If you have a significant other or other people who live with you, have them tackle the kitty duty until after the baby is born. If you live alone, see if you can have a friend or relative drop by every few days to help clean out the litter box. This doesnt mean that you love your feline any less. Soon enough, you will be back on litter box patrol!
Other Animals Can Transmit Toxoplasmosis
Cats get toxoplasmosis from eating contaminated raw meat, birds, mice, or soil. But cats aren’t the only animals who can transmit it, they’re just the only species to shed the infectious stage in their feces. Humans can contract toxoplasmosis from the infected, undercooked meat of other animals, too.
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Symptoms Of Toxoplasmosis In Humans
According to Mayo Clinic and other sources, symptoms of toxoplasma appear within five to 20 days. People who have an uncompromised immune system may show no signs at all.
Individuals with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant may show signs of infection. Some symptoms to keep an eye on if you believe your cat might be infected are:
- flu-like symptoms
- enlarged lymph nodes
- headache and fever
Infants who contract the disease while in utero may show no symptoms at birth but could develop symptoms later in life including vision loss and seizures.
If you believe you might have come in contact with the toxoplasma gondii parasite, contact your physician. Your doctor may choose to run blood tests and might need to prescribe an antibiotic, its best to discuss any treatment options with a medical professional.
Use Protective Gloves When Cleaning The Box
Gloves can help make sure no remnants of litter stay under your nails – to later be ingested inadvertently.
A face mask isn’t necessary but if you suspect your cat could currently be actively sick with toxoplasmosis, you may want to take that additional step.
You might feel silly wearing a mouth mask and latex gloves just to clean your cat’s litter box, but, in the off chance your kitty cat has contracted an infection, you’ll want to protect yourself from inadvertently coming in contact with their feces.
So, always take precaution when handling your cats poop. You can always pretend you’re the top doctor on a medical TV show. “Give me a pooper scooper STAT!”
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How Can I Protect Myself Do I Have To Rehome My Cat
Dont worry you dont have to say goodbye to your cat just because youre pregnant. A few simple precautions will keep you protected.
- Have someone else change the cat litter whenever possible. If nobody else is able to do it, wear gloves, and wash your hands immediately afterward.
- Change the litter daily. Toxoplasma only starts becoming infectious between 1 to 5 days after your cat passes a stool.
- Avoid feeding your cat raw or undercooked meat.
- Keep your cat indoors if possible.
- Wear gloves while gardening, or while in contact with sand or soil, since these areas might be your cats outdoor litter box.
- Do not come into contact with stray cats or kittens, and avoid bringing a new cat into the home while you are pregnant.
The Cdc Says Your Cat Isn’t The Greatest Threat
It’s unlikely that your cat will give you toxoplasmosis. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “people are more likely to get from eating raw meat or from gardening.” To help keep your and your baby safe, the HSUS has put together tips for avoiding exposure to toxoplasmosis.
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Pregnancy And Cat Litter: When To Stay Away Bf House
It takes 48 hours for the Toxoplasmosis cysts to become infective. They are not in the air. Theyre not in the litter dust, nor are they on the cat. They are only in the feces. Changing the litter box daily will keep the cysts from being infective. After 48 hours, dont do it. Either have someone else do it or be prepared for a zombie
The Dangers Of Not Cleaning Cat Litter
To avoid any potential risk, it is imperative to keep the cat litter box clean. That means daily and even twice daily removal of feces and clumped litter.
It is also highly recommended that the litter is fully replaced once a week.
Cats do not like dirty litter boxes, and they will stop using them if they become too smelly. Aside from that, dirty cat boxes are a breeding grounds for bacteria if not regularly cleaned.
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So How Can Toxoplasma Infect Humans
It doesn’t really mean to. As far as the parasite is concerned, we’re a bit of a dead end these days, since we’re extremely unlikely to be eaten by a feline.
Still, think of our ancestors in equatorial Africa. Back then, a human could very well fall prey to a lion. So toxoplasmosis evolved to try and catch a ride on humans too. And not just humans. Pretty much any mammal.
These days, according to the CDC people can become infected with toxoplasmosis when the ingest the parasites from one of the following sources –
Here’s the full illustration from the CDC’s website, containing both the “natural” cycle and how toxoplasma gondii invades humans –
How To Safely Change Cat Litter While Pregnant
You can safely change cat litter while pregnant by following these steps:
Use litter boxes that clean themselves. Once youve gotten used to a self-cleaning litter box, you and your cat may never want to go back. Early versions were clumsy, but newer versions are far more user-friendly. The ScoopFree Ultra self-cleaning litter box, for example, includes safety sensors that delay the start of the cleaning cycle for 20 minutes after your cat has exited the box.
Keep in mind that youll still need to clean the inside of most self-cleaning litter boxes and dispose of the litter trays and trash that collects in the covered compartment.
If your cat refuses to use self-cleaning boxes, be cautious while selecting cat litter. Choose a cat litter that wont adhere to your cats paws and hence spread throughout your house. Always use disposable gloves when scooping and wash your hands afterward.
A dust-repellent odor-control cat litter is also recommended. Both BoxiePro Deep Clean scent-free probiotic clumping cat litter and Boxiecat extra strength scent-free premium clumping clay cat litter are good choices.
Toxoplasma parasites do not become contagious until they have spent at least 24 hours in the cats excrement. By scooping the litter box after each use, or at least once a day, you can limit the risk of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite being transmitted.
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Should You Nurse Your Baby If You Had Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy
Yes. Your provider can give you a blood test to find out if you are still infected. If you are healthy and no longer infected, the chances of giving your baby toxoplasmosis while nursing is very small. Dont nurse your baby if you have cracked and bleeding nipples or breast inflammation if you were infected recently.
Breathing In Cat Litter When Pregnant
Youve probably heard of the risk of toxoplasmosis, a parasite disease that can be particularly dangerous if youre pregnant. Toxoplasmosis can be contracted by inhaling dust from infected litter, but it can also be contracted by direct contact. Although some persons are at a larger risk than others, complications are uncommon.
However, is breathing in cat litter when pregnant safe?
It is recommended not to breathe in cat litter when pregnant as it can contain toxoplasmosis. However, you can pick up your cats litter with some precautions.
This article will talk about can you breathe in kitten litter when pregnant and the precautions you must take.
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Pregnant Women And Cat Litter: What Are The Dangers
ByJim McCauleypublished 10 December 21
The combination of pregnant women and cat litter can be a health hazard learn how to minimise the risks.
Are pregnant women and cat litter a risky combination? If you’re pregnant and you own a cat, you may have heard that your beloved feline can put you in danger of contracting an infection that could be hazardous to your baby. That’s not entirely true you can still stroke and cuddle your cat without any risk of picking up anything unpleasant.
However for all their adorable fluffiness, cats can be toxic little blighters, as many people who’ve had a cat bite that’s become infected can attest. And many cats are equally toxic at the other end, which means that whenever you clean out your cat’s litter tray you can be putting yourself at risk of an infection called toxoplasmosis, even if you’ve invested in the best cat litter.
For most people, toxoplasmosis doesn’t add up to very much of a danger at all. However, the mix of pregnant women and cat litter is potentially a much bigger red flag, and something you need to take precautions around. Here’s what you need to know.