All animals can carry diseases that may be transmitted to people. These diseases are called zoonoses. (Zoo-no-sees, singular is zoonosis) Cats are no exception, yet people rarely become sick from contact with a cat. When that does happen, it is often from a cat you knew nothing about, who was harboring some zoonotic disease you are unaware of. Some people are more likely to get diseases from cats including children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS, and people being treated for cancer.
There are many zoonoses, yet most of them are rare. For specific information about a disease, we recommend you consult the most authoritative experts at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) . Here you will find detailed information about all the zoonotic diseases, prevention, and treatment.
Some cat-related zoonoses are fairly common, such as cat scratch disease (or cat scratch fever), while others, such as plague, are extremely rare. Toxoplasmosis is a disease of concern to pregnant women. It can come from cats, but people are more likely to get it from eating raw meat or from gardening. Cats can also carry rabies, a deadly viral disease. Ringworm, which is really a fungus not a worm, is a non-fatal but exasperating problem when it is passed from a young cat to your family members.
To protect your family from cat-related diseases, we recommend these simple steps:
As always, call the clinic if you have any questions about your cat.