Feline Toxoplasmosis in Cats. Don’t give your cat away because you are pregnant.
When Woman get pregnant and they own a cat, a lot to think to give the poor little kitty away because of the worry of contracting feline toxoplasmosis. This is not only illogical but also bad for the animal and pity for the offspring. Science today knows a great deal about the transmissible diseases from animals to humans. There are not many, and you can easily avoid these few.
It is also unlikely that a cute cat will hurt the baby or toddler. With a few changes in daily routines and habits and some empathy with the animal psyche, there is no jealousy at all.
Who distributes his favour evenly and gives each “his” special attention, creates by itself domestic harmony?
Hygiene problems are only a problem if you make them one.
Hygiene problems you can get under control quickly, everyone in the family has to take a bit of effort. Taking away a cat because you are pregnant is not necessary as you will see in this article.
Yes, I agree that Feline Toxoplasmosis can be a threat to your unborn child, but with common sense and care, you can have it all. Being a mother of 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats and 3 Horses, I know what I am talking about.
Been there and been through it.
I was inspired to write this article about the misinterpretation of feline Toxoplasmosis and to inform worried pregnant woman about the truth.
This is a real story and happens 8 months ago. I realised a lot of people just repeat things they have no idea about, but because too many friends repeat the same, we start to believe it.
The Story starts here …
We are looking after some stray cats in our condo. Recently I found we had a newcomer a tabby cat and this cat was not a stray cat. She was a house cat, and it looks like abandoned by the owner. How sad I thought, and I wanted to find out who was this cat belongs too, as I wanted to talk to the cat owner for the reason to abandon a cat and maybe convince them take her back.
Destiny had it that I am sitting with our strays feeding them and a lady I knew from the condo comes around, she was pregnant, talking to me about the cats. She made some small talk before she wanted to know if we see the tabby cat around.
I ask her if it is her cat and she said yes, her gynaecologist recommended to let her cat go due to the toxoplasmosis and because she knows I feed the cats she thought her cat is in good hands.
Unfortunately, she misses Abby, her cat and she worries about her. I ask Alicia ( that is her name) to meet with me and my friend a veterinarian. She agreed, and we went for a coffee 2 days later.
Educate yourself before you go through drastic changes.
My friend had an educational talk about pregnancy, cats and toxoplasmosis with Alicia. We meet another 2 times as it was hard to convince her that her gynaecologist been misinformed.
Let me tell you it took a long time and I will tell you the outcome in my blog.
What do you think Abby stayed on the street or went back to her owner.?
What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. It can live in a cat’s intestines and be spread through its faeces.
It also can live in dirt and on some food we eat. ( like, Vegetables, raw food, raw meat, ) source https://familydoctor.org/condition/toxoplasmosis/
Our domestic cat is the man host of Toxoplasma gondii. Although the animal itself usually do not get sick, they can transmit this parasite to humans.
Note: Another Farm animal like dogs, horses, sheep, goats, etc. can also transmit the disease.
What are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis?
- In most cases, people do not show signs of toxoplasmosis. The immune system will attack the parasite and prevent the illness. You may have flu-like -symptoms such as …
- body aches
- swollen lymph nodes (glands in your neck).
- It all depends on your immune system how intense the symptoms will be. Sometimes you have it and don’t even know you had it.
- Once you had it, you are immune to it. I remember when I was pregnant, I was tested, and the Doctor looked at me and said you don’t need to worry you have every antibody in your body you can think off. I had 3 dogs, and 3 cats at the time and all our 3 kids are well and healthy.
Most Women have Antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii.
Most women have antibodies. However, the infection is no reason to panic, because usually, we do not even notice that we have infected ourselves.
In exceptional cases, flu-like symptoms can be treated well with antibiotics. In fact, there are two risk groups that the parasite can be dangerous to an unborn life in the womb and people suffering from immunodeficiency, such as.
AIDS, or those, e.g. after a transplant, must be treated with drugs that suppress the immune system.
In pregnant women, the pathogen can cause an abortion or severe disability in the child;
In people with a weak immune system, the toxoplasma can cause inflammation of the brain.
Persons in these risk groups should be examined in the case of a suspected toxoplasma infection and treated if necessary, prophylactically with antibiotics.
The parasite can only harm the unborn life if the mother becomes infected with the pathogen for the first time during pregnancy.
This means that the child of a woman who has already undergone a Toxoplasma infection before pregnancy and could produce enough antibodies is usually protected from the disease.
Therefore, all women who want to have children should be tested for these antibodies.
But even if a pregnant woman has not yet developed anti-toxoplasma antibodies, it does not necessarily mean that the cat must leave home.
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The Danger of feeding raw food to your cat when you are pregnant.
Cats become infected by eating raw meat. In other words, home cats that have consumed only boiled food or convenience food all their lives are likely to be free of Toxoplasma gondii.
Indoor cats that have never been outside usually are also free from Feline Toxoplasmosis.
For safety, one can have the excrement of the animal examined for the pathogen. Many adult cats with clearance have usually already undergone an infection with the parasite and formed antibodies against it.
If the vet detects a sufficient number of antibodies in the blood of the cat, it is considered immune and usually does not transmit toxoplasmas.
Exceptions are sick cats: Let the veterinarian advise you individually and examine the faeces of the cat.
If no toxoplasma are found in the stool of the cat, the likelihood of transmission is extremely low. With a release, you should have the droppings examined at regular intervals.
Also, pregnant women without toxoplasmosis antibodies should comply with special hygiene rules in these cats, e.g. cleaning the cat toilet should be done by the partner or another person in the household.
It is good to know that the pathogen needs at least 48 hours of maturation outside the cat’s body to become infectious – if the litter box is thoroughly cleaned with hot water within this time, the risk of infection is relatively small. Another critical measure is the good old hand washing after each contact with the cat and before each meal.
If you follow these hygiene rules, there is no significant danger to your own cat. However, the risk of infection is often forgotten by the consumption and processing of raw food and by contact with soil, which can be contaminated with the pathogens.
Note: The pathogen is found mainly in three to four days old cat droppings, in garden soil, in the grass, on unwashed fruit and vegetables and in raw meat.
Tips for pregnant women with Cats.
- If you are planning a child of your choice, get tested for toxoplasmosis antibodies. If the doctor detects antibodies in your blood, your child is protected. You do not have to take any special protective measures, at least concerning toxoplasmosis. However, the hygiene rules mentioned below are also suitable for the prevention of infections of other pathogens.
- Even those who have unexpectedly become pregnant should be tested immediately for toxoplasmosis antibodies. There are tests with which the time of the infection can be approximately determined – if the infection is back for some time, there is no danger for the child.
Precautions for pregnant women without toxoplasmosis antibodies:
- Have your cat examined for toxoplasma antibodies at the veterinarian? If the cat is immune, it poses no danger.
- Faecal examinations for toxoplasmas are recommended for free-range cats, kittens and cats suffering from immunodeficiency. Let your veterinarian advise you individually.
- Free-roaming cats are particularly at risk of coming into contact with toxoplasma. Your cat can bring home toxoplasma gondii also when they are out roaming around. Therefore, pay particular attention to hygiene when handling your outdoor cat and wash your hands after each contact.
- Feed your cat only boiled meat or convenience food.
- Do not eat raw meat yourself. Be careful when processing raw meat (including fresh ham or other raw sausages) for cleanliness: rinse all kitchen appliances immediately after use and wash your own hands. Make sure that raw meat products do not come into contact with already cooked dishes.
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- Do not eat raw dairy products. In particular, raw sheep and goat’s milk can be dangerous. However, pasteurised dairy products are safe.
- Only do gardening with sturdy gloves and wash your hands every time after that.
- The cat litter box should be cleaned regularly every 24 hours. The parasite will only become active after 24 hours. ( let someone else clean it during your pregnancy)
- If possible, the partner should take care of the cleaning of the toilet, or you should use gloves as well.
- Avoid contact with sick cats, unknown kittens or unknown free-runners.
Note: The pathogen can enter the body only through the mouth or an open wound.
All in All Feline Toxoplasmosis is a disease you can deal with…
If all this information is not enough to reassure you, and you want to exclude even the smallest residual risk for your peace of mind, talk to your veterinarian and I am sure he/she can recommend and effective diagnostic procedure that can be very sure to find out if a cat at all is a risk for feline Toxoplasmosis.
Both faeces and a blood sample are examined. Explaining how this is done and evaluated would go too far in this article. Just contact your veterinarian.
I hope that now you can realistically assess the risks discussed and you are better prepared for unsustainable advice.
There is no need to give your cat away when you are pregnant. If so then you should not have a dog either, and you should not come in contact with any outdoor animal either.
Your cat and baby will have a bond later on that will be so beautiful and precious that you are wondering why you have been worried.
Back to the ending of my story.
My friend the veterinarian and I talked a lot and tried to convince Alicia, but my dear friend an animal lover and veterinarian was too much worried about Abby not being able to defend herself as a true indoor cat on the streets with the other street cats, she looked worried and you could see to scared to eat. So she took matters into her own hands and took Abby into her care.
Alicia did not know that, and one evening she came and asked me did Abby got killed because she could not see her anymore before I could answer she raised her hands and said “Thanks Lord you heart my prayers.’
Shocked and stunned for me, it was clear that Abby will not go back to her.
When I informed my lady friend the veterinarian, she was upset and told me that Alicia will never get back Abby she will keep her. Abby lives happily with my friend and her other cats, she tested Abby for feline toxoplasmosis, and the results are negative. All this worry for nothing.
Alicia got tested for Feline Toxoplasmosis, and it turned out she was immune. She came back to me looking for Abby, but for her prayers, she was gone.
I told her that she could have avoided all this when she would have been taking the steps a couple of months ago and she still could have Abby. Now Alicia has Twins and always is looking for Abby, but without a real commitment.
We chat from time to time and how life is without a cat and all is so much easier. I ask her if she would donate the things she has for Abby to our local SPCA and she told me no, I have thrown all into the rubbish. I ask her why and she said she is happy Abby is gone as it was a hassle to her as she was a wild cat.
Well, if it was not clear before for me and I still felt doubt about my friend keeping Abby now I am convinced and happy that Abby has a true home that cares and loves her dearly.
Feline Toxoplasmosis is not a reason to abandon any cat. When you get a pet to consider it is for a lifetime and it can not just be disposed of because it is an inconvenience. Pets are part of the family for a lifetime.
What about you, what is your experience with pregnancy and cats? Do you have a feline friend who has or has been tested positive for feline toxoplasmosis?
Share with us your experience.
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