Can your cat get you sick? When you’re a pet owner, you have to start thinking about someone else’s health. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your health second to your pets. The more you understand the diseases that your pet may get, the more likely you are to both notice the signs and the less likely you are to get sick. Diseases that transfer from cats to humans are called zoonotics, and all pet owners should have an idea of what to look for.
Cat Scratch Disease
This is not just the inspiration for a song, but a real bacterial disease that you can get from your cat. The specific type of bacteria for cat scratch disease comes from the droppings of fleas. Sometimes, cats accidentally ingest that bacteria while they’re grooming themselves, or it may get on their nails when they scratch themselves. Be extremely careful about bandaging up your wounds when you have a cut, because it often comes from cats who lick a human’s open skin. Sometimes this infection (also known as bartonellis) will clear up on it’s own, but sometimes you need antibiotics from your doctor.
All mammals can contract rabies when exposed to it. If you’ve been bitten or scratched by a cat that’s rabid, you’ll need to wash it immediately and then get to a qualified medical professional as quickly as possible. This disease is no joke, and the sooner you take care of it, the better.
Ringworm is a type of fungus that affects the skin and the nails of your cat. Your cat will likely have patches of fur missing or lesions on their skin, or their nails may be malformed. It’s possible to contract the disease through direct contact with your cat’s fur. While this condition can clear up without a doctor’s help, there are products that can make the healing go a lot faster than if left untreated.
While they may sound alike, roundworm is a parasite while ringworm is a fungal infection. The eggs of the worm are normally found in a cat’s feces. If your hands are in any way contaminated with the feces while you’re cleaning the litter box, these eggs can hatch in your stomach if they’re accidentally ingested. Kids are normally the ones who end up contracting roundworm because they’re not quite as careful about cleaning themselves after they’ve been exploring. Nausea and vomiting are two of the biggest warning signs to look for if you’re concerned someone in the family has this condition. While this is treatable, symptoms may not show up until after the parasite has been in the system for a long time.
Raw meat or milk can give your cat toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted to people through the cat’s feces. While adults may not feel anything if they have this disease, pregnant women can pass the infection to their unborn children. It has been known to cause blindness and mental deficiencies in kids.
Taking care of your pet means taking care of yourself too! If you have questions about your cat’s health, you can contact us at East El Paso Animal Hospital!