For all of you that have cats, it’s important to be aware of a parasite that can infect cats and can affect humans. The parasite is Toxoplasma Gondii. It’s a protazoa that really likes cats and, like a lot of parasites, can be passed along in the feces.
I found out about this parasite from one of my podcasts. The co-host, Justin, made some very disturbing comments about cats and this parasite. He tried to play it off as being not anti-cat, but anti-toxoplasma gondii.
Well, I, too, am very anti-toxoplasma gondii (TG), but I’m also pro-cat, pro-healthy cat, pro-happy cat, and pro-responsible cat ownership. A few simple steps can make sure all of these remain in effect.
- Keep your cats inside. By keeping your cat inside, you prevent it from catching the parasite in the first place. If your cat doesn’t have it, then you are just that much less likely to get it.
- Wash your hands after cleaning the litter box. If your cat TG, then the litter will be infect with it’s offspring. If it gets on your hands, and you touch a body opening, such as your mouth, eyes, etc, then it can enter you that way.
- Cover toy sandboxes. When cats are outside, they will often use sandboxes as their own personal…sandbox. Children then play in it, and sand will eventually find its way…everywhere. By preventing cats from getting into these sandboxes, you lower the chances of children contracting the parasite.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables. Cats live all over the globe. Just because there aren’t any strays in your neighborhood doesn’t mean that the farmer who you just bought tomatoes from doesn’t have them. The offspring of TG can end up on your fruits and vegetables also.
- Cook your meat throughly. Not only can cats and humans contract the TG parasites, but so can other mammals, including pigs and cows. If the cow that is now your hamburger had contracted TG, and you ordered Bessy medium, you could have a full DRV of TG on your plate also.
In case you hadn’t noticed a theme, most of these recommendations are also things you can do to prevent other diseases in you and your Fluffy. So, by practicing good hygiene, and taking a few simple steps to keep you and your pet well, you can protect you, your pets, and your family from TG.
If you do happen to contract the TG parasite, you’ll be happy to know that anyone who isn’t pregant or have a compromised immune system can usually smack this pest down. It’s estimated that at any given time 12% of the world population has it, and 95% of the world population has had it at some time. You should only be extremely careful, and consider if you really want a cat if you are pregant, have had an organ transplant and are now on anti-regection medication, or if you have HIV/AIDS. Of course, your defendage may vary.
The long and short of it, yes, Pusspuss can have some really gnarly diseases and parasites attacking it, just like all other animals. Don’t be afraid of Pusspuss. Be aware of the potential risks, but enjoy the tangible benefits!