Avoid Cats

37 Replies
Amber K - May 14

Pregnant women should avoid cats all together. There is something called "cat scratch fever" (no not like the song) it is a rare but very serious issue. My aunt was changing her litter box when she was pregnant (a few years ago) and her cat accedentaly scratched her.. her baby was born with only half a brain because of this. She could only see shadows and bright colors. She died many times and had to be revived because her brain could not tell her how to breathe. She only lived till the age of 4 she never walked, laughed, or learned to make any other sound than baby coos. She was fed through a tube until she passed away and Drs. thought it un-fair to revive her anymore. I promise this is a very serious issue. I urge women to do further research on this and even talk to your doctors. Even if your cat is like a big part of your life consider someone else keeping him during your pregnancy as your child should come first. I'm not trying to scare anyone I just want to raise awareness I am sure if my aunt knew what we know today Wendy would still be around.


Erica - May 14

I'm going to throw my two cents in here and play Devil's Advocate; is there a remote possiblity that your aunt's child difficulties were a result of toxoplasmosis as opposed to resulting from a cat's scratch? It's common knowledge that pregnant women should never change out the cats litter box or come into contact with a cat's feces. Toxoplasmosis is a disorder that affects the nervous system and the potentially the brain - so while I'm not belittling your aunt's loss by any stretch of the imagination, I am saying that there could have been an alternate cause.


J. - May 14

I read this this morning on another thread and found it quite disturbing. I know you are trying to be informative, but this is rather scary...no offence but maybe it would be better to leave some of the details out next time, as pregnant women we're paranoid enough about everything. I don't mean to sound blunt but it is rather scary. Take care.


julie - May 14

maybe your aunt was on drugs and she blamed the cat.


Erica - May 14

I agree with "J;" seeing detailed "horror stories" such as this on a pregnancy forum causes needless worry and anxiety - in a period of our lives where the slightest pelvic twinge can cause a woman concern. So to put the preggo cat owners on the board at ease, I offer the following: "Cat scratch disease" is more commonly found in kittens under 6 months of age. The Bartonella bacteria linked to the disease is more probable in a cat that roams outdoors full-time and kills rodents for fun. (obviously...if your cat is a filthy little creature, she has a greater shot at carrying ANY sort of bacteria!) And if there's any ladies who happen to be concerned after reading this thread and saying to themselves, "Oh my God, did my cat scratch me early on and infect me?" relax. Unless your scratch formed a blister/sore about 3-10 days after she scratched you, and then your lymph nodes swelled up 2 weks later, you have no cause for concern. Get back to washing those baby clothes with joy and wild abandon and put your mind at ease! :)


Amber K - May 14

julie.. no my aunt was not on drugs. To everyone else I am sorry if I seemed a little blunt. Honestly my post was not to scare anyone. I do appreciate your feedback on this because it really hits home for me. I know pregnancy has alot of worries to deal with so maybe I am being a little parinoid about this I just think its worth looking into. Sorry if I freaked anyone out.


J. - May 14

Amber K. your intentions were good so don't feel bad...I do appreciate the information although maybe the poor girl in the other thread might not have. She's obviously going through a lot and this may have added to her anxiety. Anyways, I know it wasn't malicious and just some precautionary information...take care and best of luck during your pregnancy.


p - May 15

To those who have cats and now are shaking in their boots. I change my cats litter box, the only way cat feces will hurt you is by ingesting it. If your cat is up to date with shots, a scratch wont hurt you( unless your cat brings home bats). You dont need to get rid of your cat, dont eat cat poo and wash your hands!!


mandy - May 15

I appreciate being so blunt. This is something that I never thought of and I pick up strays all the time. I think I should talk to the doctor about the cat scratch disease I have been scratched twice by cats who belong to someone else I don't know if they've had shots or not (I hope so) thank you for your information while it was graphic some people need a good kick in the b___t to get thangs through


to mandy - May 15

it sounds to me like you need more than a good "kick in the b___t" you pick up strays while you are pregnant? not a good idea for more reasons than just the one listed!!


nicole - May 16

im going to take a wild guess here...i dont think the childs problems had anything to do with that scratch, and probably not too much so to do with the cat either. if uve had a cat or ferret before being pregnant then your already immune to the toxoplasmosis that is a__sociated with them, bc most likely if youve had the animal before being pregnanat than youve already been exposed to it and once your exposed to it your body is immune to it. the only problem with it is that depsite being immune to it, your not supposed to be changing the litter boxes in case you havent been immune yet. bc the disease is only in their waste, so u should avoid it bc u wont know if youve been expoosed and immune or not;.


misty - June 5

i have no answer to the above...a little overboard i would say with the cat thing... I think what the real question is - should anyone that is pregnant have cats in their home- besides changing the litter box is there any other threat?


KrisD - June 6

I've got two cats and am 7 mos. pregnant... So far so good. My husband changes the box, but I still pat and play with the cats. Also, I was tested for toxoplasmosis when I found out I was pregnant. My dr said just avoid the box if possible. Also, a vet can actually test the cats for toxoplasmosis if you wish....


KellyB - June 6

wow, i have never heard that. I have an 11 year old cat and my doctor never mentiond ANYTHING to me. I was told in my first trimester to avoid the litter box but then later I had a toxoplasmosis test that came back negative, they said i was fine to clean the litter just use gloves and wash afterwards. Because I had my cat for 11 years, i had already been exposed to Toxoplasmosis and was immune to it. I just prefer to just give my husband the litter box cleaning to be on the safe side! My cat is an indoor cat so doesn't come into contact with cats and is up to date on his shots. Sorry to hear about your aunt.


may - June 6

here is an article that explains it:Toxoplasmosis Dear Anai, I was told that changing the cat litter could affect my unborn baby. I have three cats and I don't want to give them away. What are the risks and what can I do? Answer: Cat feces contain a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii. Frequently coming into contact with your cat's litter box puts you at risk for what is commonly known as "toxoplasmosis". Keep in mind that the litter you buy does not contain this organism, only your cats feces. Toxoplasmosis is dangerous for those who were not previously exposed to it. Once a person has been exposed, they become immune to future attacks of the toxoplasmosis. The symptoms vary person to person. You may have noticed when you first brought your cats home that you were ill without explanation. You may have experienced what you thought were allergies, or a mild flu. Being that a fetus is so susceptible to illness, it is very important that your partner, family, or friend change the litter box. This applies to any pregnant woman, whether she has been exposed or not. How does Toxoplasmosis affect my unborn baby? It is not known why some babies are affected more than others when the toxoplasmosis pa__ses through the placenta. Those babies infected have symptoms ranging from have vision problems even blindness, mild retardation or brain damage. For women who become exposed during their pregnancy have a higher risk of miscarriage and even stillbirth. The following is a list of ways to avoid becoming infected with Toxoplasmosis. A feline's feces are not the only culprit carrying this parasite. Those with weakened immune systems, who are currently ill or have gone through chemotherapy should follow this list as well. Have someone else handle the litter box. If you are alone and have no a__sisitance, make sure to wear gloves, a paper or cloth face mask Outdoor cats may use the soil around your lawn, so wear gloves when gardening. After handling your cat, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly Cook all meats thoroughly. Wash hands after each handling Wash vegetables and fruits before putting them into the crisper and before eating. Avoid eating undercooked foods such as egg yolks, meats. Try Vegan! Avoid unpasturized dairy products such as unpasturised milk, cheese, yoghurt. Copyright ©1997 Anai Rhoads.


Kate - June 8

O.k You've got me even more paranoid now! I have two outdoor cats and stroke/cuddle them regularly. I was very worried about toxoplasmosis at first but was told it is extemely rare and that I was probably immune anyway. Now I am totally freaked out. I've been worrying myself silly that there might be something wrong with the baby and now I'm really wishing I hadn't read this post!! My fault - I should have known that what ever was written here would cause major anxiety!!!! Well, I only have five weeks to go now so there's not a lot I can do about it. No doctor or midwife has mentioned this to me so if it is so common and dangerous maybe they should routinely explain the danger at your booking in appointment.


Francesca - June 8

I have four cats and one child - do you know that the easiest way of getting toximoplosis is by unwashed salads, fruit and veg. I will not be getting rid of my cats or dog or other child or husband - animals are there to be respected not scared off - is this another urban myth!!!



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