You love your cat. It cuddles with you (when it's in the mood), purrs as you scratch its head, and is always there after you've had a long day at work. There are so many ways your cat adds to your life, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), owning a pet can decrease your blood pressure, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels. But, there are some health woes that can be caused by your cat.
Cat Scratch Fever
Cat Scratch Fever, otherwise known as Cat Scratch Disease, makes even a tiny scratch, or a bite that barely breaks the skin, dangerous. This bacterial infection is transferred from an infected cat to the human, and according to the CDC it can cause flu-like symptoms that in rare cases can cause damage to a person's organs. To reduce your chances of contracting the disease, never interact with cats you don't know, and always use a flea preventative on your cat because flea dirt causes the original infection.
Toxoplasmosis is the reason many doctors recommend women avoid cleaning litter boxes throughout pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic warns that the parasite can cause complications to the baby, and it could be lurking in your cat's bowel movements. This common parasite can be avoided with proper hygiene. Be sure to always wash your hands after handling cat waste, and keep your cat's litter clean to avoid transference throughout your home.
Ringworm can easily be transferred through contact with an infected animal (or human). This fungal infection may be lurking on your cat, especially if they go outdoors. Luckily, it's not too dangerous, and according to The Mayo Clinic, a simple antifungal product can clear up the telltale rash. To avoid a bout of Ringworm, keep your cat indoors so they do not have contact with an infected animal.
Hookworm is a parasite that can cause excessive gastrointestinal issues in humans. It can be transferred through animal waste, and is easily avoidable. When you get a new cat, take it to the veterinarian (like those at Gwynedd Veterinary Hospital) for a deworming, and then keep your cat indoors to prevent a re-infection. Also, always be sure to wash your hands after contact with any cat waste.
Almost everything comes with a little bit of inherent danger, including owning a pet, but as long as you follow basic hygiene and act as a responsible pet owner you can avoid a "cat-astrophe."