Pet lovers commonly ask this question. Are there any diseases that humans can catch from pets?
The answer is yes.
Diseases or infections that are transmitted from animals to animals and animals to humans are called "zoonoses", and they can pose serious health risks.
Diseases you can catch from your cat include:
Cat scratch disease - This is a disease that is caused by bacteria that are carried in cat saliva. The bacteria can be passed from a cat to a human through biting or scratching.
Rabies - This infection is caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals and is transmitted to pets and humans by bites. Infected bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, dogs or cats pose the greatest risk to humans.
Toxoplasmosis - You can acquire this parasitic disease from soil or other contaminated surfaces by putting your hands to your mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat's litter box, or by touching anything that has come into contact with cat feces.
Parasites - They include roundworms and hookworms, which can all be transmitted from cats to humans. These parasites are transmitted through contact with feces or the soil it contaminates. Hookworms can even infect humans through the soles of their feet. For these reasons, children are especially at risk, so make sure they wash their hands thoroughly after handling the cat.
Ringworm - This contagious fungal disease can affect the scalp, the body (particularly the groin), the feet and the nails. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with worms. The name comes from the characteristic red ring that can appear on an infected person's skin. Cats are primary carriers of this disease, much more so than dogs.
All animals can acquire zoonotic diseases, but animals at increased risk include: outdoor pets, unvaccinated animals, pets that are immunocompromised (they have a suppressed immune system), poorly groomed animals, and animals that are housed in unsanitary conditions.
People with immune disorders or those on chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy may be at increased risk of infection.
Animals with zoonotic diseases may exhibit a variety of clinical signs depending on the type of disease. The signs can vary from mild to severe. As a pet owner you should know your animal and be aware of any changes in behavior and appearance.
The MOST important thing you can do for protection is to make sure that you and your family wash your hands after any contact with any urine and feces. Always wash your hands before eating.