Cats are the most well-known pets in the United States. According to the latest version of this U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2002 Edition) there were almost 70 Million pet cats in the United States. Why are cats so common? There are as many answers to this question because there are cat owners, but the very low health risks cats pose to their owners is certainly close to the top of the listing. Even though the possible health dangers cats pose to individuals are small, it’s necessary that cat owners are aware of those dangers and understand how to lessen them.
The majority of all risks coming from cat ownership are connected with the cat litter cat or box urine. There are two types of risks. The first category contains health risks posed by parasites and bacteria to both cat owners and their cats. The second group contains injuries resulting from an automatic litter box or self cleaning litter box.
Mostly the health problems experienced by cat owners or their cats stem from the first category and the most important of those risks is called Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a disease brought on by a small parasite named Toxoplasma gondii that can be found in uncooked or undercooked meat, unwashed produce, filthy cat litter boxes and outdoor soil where cat urine can be found. However pregnant women and individuals who have compromised immune systems, such as people infected with the HIV virus, are at risk and should take precautions to prevent being infected by the parasite. For individuals in this group a Toxoplasma infection could result in serious health issues to the individual or into a pregnant woman’s unborn child. You may be interested in: best cat litter boxes reviews
Again, most of those 60 million and American’s infected with Toxoplasmosis parasite won’t ever experience any symptoms. The majority of those who do experience symptoms will simply believe they possess the Flu since the most frequent symptoms include swollen glands, fever, headache, muscle strain, or even a stiff neck. For those at the high risk group, Toxoplasmosis may lead to damage to the brain, eyes and internal organs. As stated by the US Food and Drug Administration, kids born with Toxoplasma gondii can suffer from hearing loss, mental retardation, and blindness using some children growing eye or brain difficulties years after birth (2). The CDC estimates that 400-4000 fetuses are infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite each year and as many as 80 infants die from Toxoplasmosis annually (2).
Just how does one contract Toxoplasmosis? A Toxoplasmosis infection is caused by ingesting the Toxoplasma gondi parasite. Most cat owners are infected with the parasite by inadvertently ingesting infected cat urine. This occurs when a person touches their mouth after handling a cat litter box, operating in a garden or sand box or touching something that has come in contact with kitty feces (3).