Diseases that spread from animals are generally called Zoonoses. Some facts about the diseases that could be spread from cats include –

  • Diseases like flu, colds, aids, and hookworm are not spread from pets
  • Fatal zoonoses like toxoplasmosis and rabies can be infected in healthy people, but are rare
  • Scratches, bites and direct contact with animal feces or with the pet are always at risk to get the diseases

When to visit a doctor?

  • Usually, instant cleaning of injured area with water and soap reduces infection risk, but if there is inflammation and swelling see a doctor.
  • Take cat bite and scratch seriously and consult the doctor because cats mouth can transmit germs to your skin
  • Flu-like symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping may be due to zoonoses

Zoonoses people can pick from cats

Ringworm – Fungus causes this skin disease and not worms. Ringworm is a contagion lying in dead layer of hair, skin and nails. Through touch it gets transmitted between people and pet easily.

The common signs for ringworm are itchy and painful rash. The rash can transform into scales and blisters. Ringworm affects your nails, scalp, feet, and groin. These fungal infections can be cured using antifungal cream. Remember to keep infected areas dry and clean as well as get your cat treated.

Roundworm – Cat roundworm is also called Toxocara cati. An egg of roundworm gets discharged in animals or human stool. If you touch your mouth with contaminated hands then eggs get ingested directly in the human body. The eggs get hatched in the intestine and larvae that can break through the gut wall. It enters the bloodstream and reaches all over the body.

The symptoms can differ and depend on the victim’s age, sensitivity to larvae and intensity of exposure. Varied symptoms may include fever, cough, skin rash, liver enlargement, and pneumonia.

Salmonella – Bacteria of salmonella is found in stools of cats that eat raw meat and catch wild birds. Symptoms of poisoning are fever, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, and abdominal cramps. Wash hands instantly after handling cat feces, touching pets or cleaning their cages.

Cat scratch disease – It is a bacterial disease caused by bacterium Bartonella Henselae. It is also popular as Bartonellosis.

Kittens with sharp claws often pass this infectivity through minor scratch. Bartonella bacteria infect blood vessel walls in humans but the cat shows no symptoms of suffering from this disease.

Around the scratch, a crusty, red blister occurs and you can experience decrease in appetite, fever, headache, and swollen nymph nodes.

Toxoplasmosis – A single celled parasite called toxoplasma gondii causes this infection. Majority of pets carry this disease but only cats discard eggs that causes this infection. Toxoplasmosis in cats is due to eating rodent, insects or coming in close contact with infected cats/feces.

You can get infected with this infection, if you ignore washing your hands, after cleaning litter tray or feces in the garden. Eating unwashed vegetables and fruit grown in soil contaminated with cat feces.

Pregnant woman are vulnerable to this infection, which can cause miscarriage or death of the baby. If the baby survives then it can suffer from severe mental retardation, jaundice, blindness, and convulsions.

Prevention tips of zoonoses from cats

(For greater depth, please read this article. )

  • Avoid direct contact with feces of cat in litter tray or garden. Clean it with gloved hands
  • Wash hands properly and frequently, after direct contact with pets
  • Keep the sandpits that is used to throw the feces covered for kids safety
  • Deworm the cat regularly
  • To avoid scratches teach your kids to play gently with cats