Pregnancy and Cats and Dogs
Many women wonder what precautions they need to take around their pet when they become pregnant. Veterinarian Dr. Ian Sandler says the biggest risk to pregnant women is a disease called toxoplasmosis, which is a transferred mainly from cats.
Most of the time, cats acquire the infection from eating raw meat and then shed the parasite in their stool. The way it most commonly gets transferred to humans is if you touch the stool then touch your mouth – a process called fecal-oral contamination. If acquired during pregnancy, toxoplasmosis can be very harmful to pregnant women. That’s why washing your hands is so important when you’re pregnant.
It’s important to note that it’s rare for humans to become infected.
Still, there are some precautions you should take.
- Make sure you keep your cat indoors so that it can’t get exposed to the parasite through raw prey or another cat’s infected stool.
- Don’t feed your cat raw meat.
- Have someone else clean the cat’s litter pan and pick up after dogs.
- Cover children’s sandboxes so cats can’t use it as a litter box.
- Wear gloves when you garden then wash your hands afterwards (wash up even though you wore gloves, better safe than sorry)
- Don’t handle or eat raw or undercooked meat while you’re pregnant.(try using surgical gloves if you have to)