Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called ‘Toxoplasma gondii’. Its main host is the cat but also affects livestock and humans. Not many cat carers think about this, until they’re pregnant.
How do humans get Toxoplasmosis?
There are a few ways to be infected, lets start with the most common:
• Eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables
• Infected cat poop (takes about 24hrs after being passed to be infective)
• Gardening (cats pooping in the soil)
• Sand boxes (as for gardening)
Pregnant women do need to take precautions against toxoplasmosis. If caught for the first time during pregnancy it can be passed to your unborn baby. Your GP can test for antibodies and will be able to advise you further on this.
Ways to reduce risk of infection:
As above you’re more likely to get toxoplasmosis from raw food than from your cat. Here are some suggestions:
• Only eat well cooked meat
• Thoroughly wash vegetables to remove traces of soil
• Have your partner or someone else be responsible for cleaning the cat tray ensuring the poop is removed as soon as possible and its cleaned daily.
• Wear gloves when gardening
• Normal hand washing hygiene before food and always after petting your cat.
• Cover sand boxes
• Don’t feed your cat raw meat