Many pregnant female cat owners wonder if it is safe to own a cat while they’re expecting. The answer is “yes” with a few precautions. It\’s perfectly fine to be around cats when you\’re pregnant, but you need to be very careful about cleaning the litter box. Or even better have someone else do it for you.
The main reason most people are afraid of cats during pregnancy is toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that can infect mostly humans. Cats are one of the most common carriers of this parasite. Most people never realize they have it as very few (if any) symptoms show up. However, if a woman is infected while pregnant, it can cause serious birth defects.
How to protect yourself from Toxoplasmosis.
The parasite is transmitted orally, so touching a contaminated hand to your mouth could result in infection.
- You have to be really careful about cleaning the litter box. Ideally, get someone else to do it for you. If this is not possible make sure to clean your cat’s litter box daily, as the parasite doesn’t become infectious for 1-5 days.
- Always wear gloves and wash your hands after cleaning the litter box. You should also wear gloves while gardening, cleaning vegetables and handling raw meat.
- Do not adopt any stray cats during pregnancy, as they’re exposed more often to toxoplasmosis. This is because they eat small animals and they could have weak immune systems.
Toxoplasmosis is serious for an unborn baby, however, it is also really hard to be infected. Follow the above tips, always remember to wash your hands and there is nothing to be afraid of. Also, many people with cats have been infected and now they’re immune.
Photoshoot: Jonathan Borba