We cringe every time we hear that another cat has lost a home because of bad and incorrect warnings from doctors directed at pregnant women.
We finally found a really good article that clears the air about cats, toxoplasmosis and pregnant or nursing women.
Far too many obstetricians attempting to sound smart have given women bad and very wrong advice: “Get rid of your cat to protect your child.”
If your cat stays inside and has never eaten a rodent the chances of your cat carrying this parasite are remote. Concerned about your cat? Have the cat tested!
From the article we’ve linked to below:
Question: Do I have to give up my cat if I’m pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?
Answer: No. You should follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma.
- Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
- Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat’s feces.
- Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food, not raw or undercooked meats.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
- Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
- Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand.
Read the entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html
The ASPCA has a good page about Toxoplasmosis and cats. Here’s something they say:
If you suspect your cat is carrying the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, it’s time to get him tested by your veterinarian. If he tests positive, it means he has been exposed to the disease but is unlikely to be shedding oocysts after an initial two-week period. If he tests negative, it means he has not been exposed and could still become infected and shed oocysts — but again only for two weeks.
Read more from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/toxoplasmosis
From a new mother’s forum, moms and a vet student speak: