You are pregnant and your doctor has expressed concerns for toxoplasmosis because you have a cat, what are the facts?
Future mothers should be concerned about toxoplasmosis. Cats can become contaminated by eating raw meat or by preying on rodents, birds etc… The best way to avoid contamination is to keep your cat indoors and to avoid feeding it raw meat or non-pasteurized milk. By taking these measures, we will reduce the risk for the future mom. You also have to be careful about your own eating habits. It is common for people to get toxoplasmosis by ingesting contaminated food. Here are general recommendations for your pregnancy;
1) Do not eat raw meat or non-pasteurized milk, always cook meat well.
2) In doubt, boil water.
3) Wash all fruits and vegetables very well.
4) Wear gloves for gardening.
5) Cover the kid’s sandbox.
6) Keep your cat indoors.
7) Ask somebody else to clean out the litter box.
8) Clean out the litter box every day.
If your cat has toxoplasmosis, stools will be contaminated for 2 weeks. There is a treatment for this parasite. The clinical signs vary from ocular and pulmonary problems, anorexia, fever, diarrhea , etc… A test sent out to a lab can confirm the diagnosis.
In people, contamination occurs by ingesting the toxoplasma cysts. These cysts can be present in water, soil or food that came into contact with contaminated cat feces. But remember that there is a bigger chance of getting infected by eating contaminated meat or unwashed vegetables than by cleaning out your cat’s litter box.
To summarize, indoor cats are seldom carriers of toxoplasmosis. Simple hygienic measures and healthy eating habits will help you protect your baby so can safely keep on cuddling your furry friend.