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Can Cats Make You Sick?

My cats like to snuggle under the doona with me when it starts to get colder. Can this make me sick?

For the average healthy person with a strong immune system the risk of getting sick from your cat is low. The following are a few common potential health concerns that you should take into consideration if you are in close contact with cats.

• Parasites – There is a chance that parasites could be passed from them to you. External parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites can be passed on and intestinal worms can also be contracted from your cat

• Bacterial & Fungal Infections – There is a risk of contracting bacterial infections such as Salmonella or fungal infections like ringworm from your cat.

• Allergies & Asthma – Cat fur and dander can aggravate allergy symptoms, hay fever and asthma. If you suffer from any of these and you notice that the symptoms are worse when around your cat you should seek advice from your doctor. Medication can often help to control the symptoms however sometimes the only option is to reduce close contact with the cat.

The best way to reduce the risk of contracting something from your cat is to care for your cat with good hygiene and health practices. Keep them free from parasites with regular preventative treatments, keep them clean and well groomed. Ensure that their litter tray is regularly cleaned and the litter changed often, as well as removing any faeces from the yard and/or outside. Also try to avoid letting your cat lick you as this saliva can transmit intestinal worms, bacterial and fungal infections. As always, contact your veterinarian and attend to any health concerns immediately.

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