Terms & Conditions

Cats and kitty litter

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling, a midwife for over 25 years, is the Director of Midwifery Studies at UTS. She believes research, innovation and good quality midwifery are pivotal to the well-being of mothers and young families. Christine has extensive experience in antenatal education, policy development and research, and has published on workforce issues, homebirth, vaginal birth...
Created on Oct 16, 2023 · 2 mins read
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Cats and kittens can be the most cuddly and comforting companions, always purring and laying next to you while you’re feeling down or ill. When you think about your pregnancy you can’t imagine not having your feline friend by your side. However, there is one thing to be wary of with your hygiene around your pet: toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite, typically found in cat faeces. The potential to become infected is low but if you were to become infected, it could cause some serious complications to your baby.

The risk of transmission increases with gestation however, babies infected in early pregnancy have a greater risk of congenital anomalies. Congenital toxoplasmosis has also been associated with miscarriage or stillbirth.

Whilst this is all important information and the complications are very serious, we don’t necessarily want you going and giving your cat away for 9 months.

Do I need to get rid of my cat?

No. If you are proactive with avoiding the areas of infection you should be fine. Here are some of the ways you can easily steer clear:

  • Don’t empty kitty litter trays. If no one else is able to help you with this, wear rubber gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards
  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you accidentally end up touching your cat’s faeces
  • Have the litter tray cleaned and changed daily
  • If you’re gardening, make sure to wear gloves because they can sometimes use the soil as a bathroom
  • Avoid sick cats and don’t get a new kitten while pregnant
  • Keep your cat inside as much as possible
  • Only feed dry or canned food to your cat; no raw or undercooked meats*

*Cats get the parasite when they eat infected birds, small animals, or rodents. This then passes into their faeces, which is what passes the infection if you come into contact with it.

When to go to the hospital

You typically won’t show any symptoms or be able to know when you’re infected. If you believe that you may have had a high chance of getting the parasite, talk to your GP who can do a blood test to check.

If you are a little wary of your furry friend now, that is understandable. The best thing to do is be aware and cautious when it comes to hygiene and perhaps get someone else to do the dirty (litter) work in the meantime.

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