Your article on the parasitic cat poop, I assume, is safe to assume does not apply to pampered, disease-checked housecats?
Link to article:
No, it’s not. It does indeed apply to all cats. Pregnant women should not be changing, scooping, or cleaning the litterbox, no matter how spoiled Fluffy is.
Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, Jeanettemsg, we’re glad to have you with us.
Since your post is a question about Cecil’s column, I’m moving it to the proper forum: from “About this Message Board” to “Comments on Cecil’s Column.” That way, you’ll get more responses. No biggie, you’ll learn as you psot here more often.
I guess that explains the crazy cat lady next door.
False. Strictly indoor cats which have never hunted and have been fed only commercially-prepared cat food are unlikely to acquire T. gondii, as it is a dietary parasite. As such, they pose a minimal risk.
I have nothing to contribute, other than to say that the cartoon for this entry is my favorite Straight Dope cartoon ever.
While this is true, it’s impossible to know about your cat. Even Fluffy may have killed a few tripping mice in your basement while you’re sleeping.
Given the horrific risks of toxo during pregnancy on the fetus and possible complications for the mother (amputated limbs, anyone?), I for one wouldn’t risk it. If you live alone and are pregnant, get an automatic litter box, fer goodness sake!
An even easier solution is for someone other than the mother-to-be to change the litter box. Even with the automated kind, one eventually has to discard the poop, empty and refill the box, etc.
This is true, but my Littermaid is so designed that I never come into contact with cat poop, or run much of a risk of inhaling dried cat poop. The poop container is all…uh…contained when I snap it out of the system.
It should be mentioned that anyone who is HIV+ should also avoid any contact with cat feces. Toxoplasmosis is a big risk for people who are immunocompromised.
Only a small percentage of cats even carry toxoplasmosis. It is something like 1 in 5000. The information given made it sound like pretty much every cat carriers it and we are all going to be infected. That is not the case. You can have your cat tested if you are at all worried but it is not nearly as easy as you may think to even get it from your cat. You would have to actually ingest some contaimenated poop for goodness sake. And most cats only shed the oocyst once or maybe twice in their lives so it isn’t in every single piece of poop even. Most people aren’t even affected in anyway because their immune system just wipes it out. It can not reproduce in any other organism besides a cat. I have a cat with Toxoplasmosis but I am not at all worried of getting it myself, even though I am the one that changes the litterbox. The poop has to dry to even release the little oocyst into the environment. You or your cat can be treated with Clindamycin and it will be killed. My little kitty is doing fine now except for some residual granulomas in her eye which will eventually go away.
I read somewhere that if a woman has had cats (with toxoplasmosis) all along, she has probably already contracted the disease and has built up an immunity to it, and needen’t worry about changing boxes and contracting it again - even if pregnant. True or not?
pocketkitties, thank you for your voice of reason!!!
god, people can be so paranoid (just listen to WhyNot, which is kind of an appropriate name give his/her attitude toward warding off potential dangers)
so if you’re pregnant, just wash your hands well after you scoop. that’ll go a long way in keeping you from eating it.
That’s what I heard, as well. It is even possible for a women with cats who want to get pregnant to get tested for toxoplasmosis.
It truly seems like doing something simple like not changing the litter when pregnant isn’t particularly “paranoid” when the results of the disease are so horrific, actually. Paranoid would be selling the cat, no?
Yes, but many people (as evidenced by the cat giveaways on my Freecycle list) do take it to extremes and get rid of their cats as soon as they find out they’re pregnant. Ignorance, in those cases, reigns supreme, and the poor cats usually pay with their lives.