Cats and your unborn child

If you're pregnant, you're probably already aware that your cat may be carrying a parasite that could harm your foetus.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by exposure to the toxoplasma gondii parasite, which cats can pick up from eating infected prey or meat, or by coming into contact with infected faeces. In adult humans, toxoplasmosis usually only causes swollen glands, but if a pregnant woman comes into contact with the parasite, it can lead to foetal hydroencephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or lesions in the retina or brain.

But veterinarians say it's probably not necessary to get rid of a beloved pet to protect your baby's health. The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis offers this advice:

If you're pregnant, avoid all contact with cat faeces, keep cats indoors, feed them a diet of commercial food, and cook meat to at least 67 degrees Celsius. Also, you should wear rubber gloves when gardening in outdoor soil that may be contaminated by cat faeces, and always wash produce thoroughly.

(Liesl Powell, Health24)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
33% - 9328 votes
No
67% - 18815 votes
Vote