Phil asks, “What diseases can humans catch from cats?”
A handful of diseases can be passed from cat to human, but thankfully, you’d have to try pretty hard to get them from an indoor house cat. Young children are more likely to ingest these germs since they aren’t too fussy about what they put in their mouths, so keep your own sandboxes covered and check for fecal matter in public playgrounds.
Other ways to prevent the passing of zoonotic disease include keeping your own pet up to date with vaccinations. Make sure you wash any scratches or bites that might occur. Clean veggies well before you eat, too. Toxoplasmosis is mostly spread via poopy produce, not the litter box! Diseases like hookworm can cause severe internal damage, so don’t hesitate to see your doctor if you suspect parasitic foul play!
Somehow ringworm didn’t make it into the song, but it can make it into your skin! This is a fungus, not a worm, and it is passed through direct contact with infected skin. My foster kitten Javert had a bit of this on his ear a few weeks ago. The ear was tipped with crusty skin, and it clearly irritated him. The ringworm cleared up with a healthy dose of Vagisil smeared onto it twice a day! Who knew!? Make sure you check with your vet first if you think your cat is infected.
"Zoonotic Disease" by Sarah Donner
Since you made the inquiry, I'm-a tell you the story
Of the feline zoonotic disease
If you are a child, or elderly, or immunocompromised with disease
Then you are susceptible to these
It’s unlikely that you’re gonna catch it
Unless you make a kitty angry and get bit
Or hanging 'round litter boxes where they ... litter (defecate, poop, No. 2)
For starters, there’s infection with bacteria
Like salmonella and cat scratch fever
And the parasites will make you squirm
What you find inside are the round or hookworms
Next in line are the protozoans, single-celled badass organisms
This one spreads from poop -- that’s the grossest
It’s our friend toxoplasmosis
Rabies rabies -- get out, you weren’t invited
Maybe maybe -- that’s what’s said when vaccinate against the virus?
SOURCES: Cornell University, Discovery, CDC
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