Can a pregnant woman live with a cat?


By Karen Weintraub June 15, 2017

How worried should cat owners be about the parasite? Toxoplasma gondii, especially when there are babies?

The only people who are at risk for the Toxoplasma gondii they are pregnant women who have not been previously infected, infants under 6 months and any family member whose immune system has been weakened by cancer treatment, transplant therapy or an infection such as HIV.

About 20 percent of the American population is infected with the Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can infect birds and most other animals, but only reproduces sexually in cats. The parasite generally remains inactive in people after the first few days of mild symptoms similar to those of influenza, said Michael Grigg, a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States. If the parasite is activated, which would cause the disease known as toxoplasmosis, it could cause neurological problems, such as seizures.

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"It is possibly the most successful parasite on the planet," Grigg said, but if you have a functional immune system, "you practically have nothing to worry about."

A previously infected woman who becomes pregnant will have no problems because her immune system will keep the infection contained, said Rima McLeod, director of the Toxoplasmosis Center at the University of Chicago. She will transmit that immunity to the fetus.

However, if a woman becomes infected for the first time during pregnancy that will affect the placenta, Grigg said, which could cause fetal death, death during childbirth or problems with the newborn, including elongated head, cognitive deficits and almost with Certainty, eye problems. Newborns of mothers without previous infections are also vulnerable to the parasite, he said.

"It can be a serious infection," said McLeod, who is also a professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at the University of Chicago. “It can cause a devastating disease in children, with serious affectations for them at birth and also later during their life. It can have consequences for them and their families, throughout their lives. ”

There are precautions that pregnant women may have. If a test during the first months of pregnancy shows that she has not been previously infected, she should avoid cleaning the cat's sandbox and ask someone to do it daily with boiling water to disinfect the box, says McLeod.

"If they can keep the cat inside the house during pregnancy and feed it with canned meat that is cooked, they don't need to worry," he said. "The cat that is a problem is the feral hunter or the one who feeds on uncooked meat."

An acutely infected cat or kitten can excrete in about two weeks about 500 million oocytes - the contagious form of the parasite - that can remain contagious in soil and water for up to a year, McLeod said. A person can be infected by even one of those oocytes. "It's a surprisingly effective dissemination system," he said.

There are other methods of contagion in addition to direct contact with cats, including eating uncooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables, drinking unfiltered water, leaving bare sandboxes (where cats defecate) or gardening without gloves.

"In all cases, pregnant women should be monitored monthly by their gynecologists because there is a lot of risk in the environment," McLeod said. The treatments can prevent the parasite from damaging it, he said, but it cannot be completely disposed of. Vaccines and curative treatments are under development, and McLeod hopes that someday the Toxoplasma gondii It is no longer a threat to pregnant women, children or those whose immune systems are compromised.

Are cats incompatible with pregnancy?

Have you ever gone to maternity to see a newborn with a gift for the baby and a pack of Iberian ham for the mother? My friends and I have already done it several times and we have enjoyed as children watching how the new mother recovered from labor, licking the most desired snack during pregnancy: the ham.

Although the chocolates have not lost prominence as a gift in maternity visits, my friend's midwife told us that, what is undoubtedly more and more fashionable, is to give Iberian ham rations, because thanks to the controls of Quality, there are fewer and fewer women who have gone through toxoplasmosis before becoming pregnant from eating sausages or undercooked meat.

Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Living with animals, especially cats, is another risk factor when contracting the disease during pregnancy. Cats are the main transmitters of toxoplasmosis and they contract it when they eat infected meat. For this reason, if you are pregnant and have a cat you must avoid cleaning the boxes where your cat deposits feces and do gardening work without gloves, since parasites of their feces can move with the wind and deposit in other nearby places.

With proper hygienic measures it is difficult to get infected, but many future moms are so afraid for the health of their future baby on the way, that they choose to get rid of their kitten. However, before thinking about giving up the cat, check with the results of your analysis, that you really have not passed toxoplasmosis. And if so, think about your cat and also all the steps you should take to avoid contracting the disease.

And is that Toxoplasmosis is not only transmitted by cats, the Toxoplasma gondii It can also be in vegetables, fruits, legumes, sausages and undercooked meat. So, pay attention to your salads! Before eating a refreshing dish of lettuce and tomato, be sure to carefully wash with a single drop of bleach, all the leaves and the whole tomato, the fruit should always be peeled and the sausages should be parked until after delivery.

So I'm not surprised that after eight months without trying a slice of sausage, or a pinch of tenderloin, or a cap of serrano ham, my friend and newly released mom thanked us a thousand times for that portion of ham, which He knew blessed glory. 'Mmmm, how delicious!' He said.

Many people will warn you of your pet's risks to your baby, but how true are they? (Special)

When you are the happy responsible for a little cat homey and you embassies, many people will warn you of the risks that the cat hides for you and your baby, but don't panic, because in fact, there are myths and half truths What you should know before seeing your pet with distrust.

They are cleaner

True: Cats are clean pets, but they don't stop being susceptible to diseases. Whether or not you are pregnant it is important that you take it to veterinary checkups, vaccinate it and feed it well. Home cats that do not go out - or go out little - abroad, have a low risk of becoming infected.

They will give you toxoplasmosis

Half truth: Toxoplasmosis is risky for a pregnant woman and although an infected cat could spread it, it is estimated that only 2 percent of the feline population suffers from it.

The toxoplasmosis It is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii that is also present in farm animals and products of contaminated animal and vegetable origin, in fact, a very common form of infection is to consume raw or undercooked meat.

In the case of house cats, if it becomes infected, infection can be avoided by taking precautions such as handling the feces of the animal with gloves and not leaving them exposed for more than 24 hours, basically, maintaining the litter box twice up to date. If you have a cat at home, delegate this responsibility to someone else.

Cats can scratch and harm your baby

Half truth: They are animals with instincts and of course they have the potential, but it is not that their sole purpose is to attack defenseless babies. If your cat is balanced, healthy and happy, the most natural thing is to wake up his protective instinct and accept the arrival of your baby in the family nucleus. If you search on YouTube, there are many v> cats with protective attitudes towards babies and children.

If you have more doubts and concerns about living with your cat, or someone else's cats, during pregnancy, cConsult your doctor or veterinarian. In general, it is quite safe to live with a healthy cat, and if there is already a love bond between them, you will enjoy this stage much more.

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Currently, we see many more people with pets and, in fact, more care towards animals. We have had a park in the Miraflores district full of cats and many people have been encouraged to have a pet. Further, health services have campaigned to keep pets healthy, those conceited from home.

But what care should we take with our pets when we are pregnant? We know that there are many diseases that can be transmitted by animals, No one is immune and it is important to know that the immune system of the pregnant woman is more vulnerable in this period and that, in addition to being a risk to her, it also puts the baby at risk.

There are many habits and customs of people who are already accustomed to having pets, It is not the same to live with pets in the city than in the countryside, it is not the same to have them in a large house or with a garden layout, even if it is small, or to have them within an apartment sharing all the spaces.

Not all people get involved in the same way with their petsThere are many who like to kiss their pets, feed them by the hand, sleep with pets and many activities that as people make us very happy because we understand this sharing as a way of giving and receiving affection.

However, and returning to pregnant women, these behaviors can put our health and that of the baby at risk, among one of the main concerns of pregnant women is the disease known as "toxoplasmosis" which is transmitted by the cat, although we can certainly also be infected by eating raw meat, by a contaminated blood transfusion or an organ transplant, a badly washed chopping board, contaminated water, that is, forms of contagion that we might not have imagined and that may never happen to us, the truth is that our friends are also cats.

Toxoplasmosis disease is no small matter, because the health problems that could originate in the fetus are at the level of the nervous system that can be reflected eye damage, ear damage, skin lesions, low birth weight, being born early, among others. We also know that the sooner the contagion is the greater the damage will be, the first three months of gestation are the most critical as the future baby is forming.

The recommendations for catlovers is a lot of hygiene, that another person manipulate and clean the feces of pets, have a ventilated environment, take our pet regularly with the veterinarian and also maintain a good diet so that our immune system is in good condition.

It is not necessary, unless there is an indication of the specialist, that we move away from those beings that are part of our family and that it has been observed that they also harmoniously share everything their family does that includes seeing the children grow and Convey your affection.

A happy pregnancy and childbirth requires the care and advice of your specialist, do not hesitate to use your trusted obstetrician.

The cleanest animals

The cats, without a doubt, they are the cleanest pets They can live with people in the same home. This is already a very important point in your favor.

Humans, even the cleanest and most hygienic, are susceptible to infecting each other with very diverse diseases. In the same way animals, even the cleanest and best cared for, are able to spread diseases acquired by multiple routes to humans. That said, it sounds really bad, but when we explain it in the right context, that is, in a percentage way, the question is clarified.

It is the same as if we said that all the planets on the planet can fall. That said, it really sounds very bad, but if we explain that airplanes are the safest means of transportation in the world, we will be recounting a proven scientific reality (although the first absurd theory is not denied).

Something similar happens with cats. It is true that they can transmit some diseases, but the reality is that they spread many people less diseasesthan other pets, and even much less than the ailments that humans transmit to each other.

Toxoplasmosis, the disease tem>

Toxoplasmosis is a very serious disease that can cause brain damage and blindness to the fetuses of infected pregnant women. Some cats (very few)they are carriers of said disease, like many other pets, farm animals, or other materials of animal and plant origin.

However, toxoplasmosis is a disease that it is transmitted very hard. Specifically, the following are the only possible forms of infection:

  • Only if the feces of the animal are handled without gloves.
  • Only if the stool exceeds 24 hours after deposition.
  • Only if the feces belong to a cat that is infected (2% of the feline population).

In case the forms of contagion were not restrictive enough, the pregnant woman should also take the dirty fingers to her mouth, since there can only be contagion by the ingestion of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which is what causes this disease.

In fact, toxoplasmosis is spread mostly by ingestion of infected meat Undercooked or raw. They can also be spread by ingesting lettuce or other vegetables that have been in contact with dog, cat, or any other animal carrying toxoplasmosis and have not been washed or cooked well before eating them.

Pregnant women and cat hairs

Cat hairs produce allergy to pregnant women Allergic to cats. This perogrullesque reason tries to show with a sense of humor that cat hair only produces allergies to women who they were allergic before their pregnancy.

According to estimates there are a total of 13% to 15% of the population allergic to cats. Within this limited range of allergic people there are varying degrees of involvement. From people who only produce sneezing if a cat is in their lap (the vast majority), to a minority of people who can cause asthma attacks with the simple presence of a cat in the same room.

Obviously, women with a very high degree of allergic involvement in cats, if they become pregnant will continue to have severe allergy problems before a cat. But it is assumed that no woman very allergic to cats, to get pregnant will decide to live with a cat.

Cats can harm the baby

This silly theory that tops this point is denied by the multitude of cases in which cats have defended small children, and not so small, of aggressions by dogs or other people. It is exactly the opposite: cats, and especially cats, are very aware of young children, and they worry a lot when the little ones get sick.

There have even been cases in which it was precisely the cats who have notified the mothers of an event that occurred to their babies.

It is true that cats and dogs the arrival of a baby at home can cause some confusion for a few hours. In the same way that the arrival of a brother can cause a similar sensation to the brothers of the newborn. But it is a natural and temporary circumstance that soon disappears and family normality is resumed.


I guess that after reading this post, you will have concluded that a cat is absolutely harmless For a pregnant woman.

The only preventive measure to be taken by a pregnant woman if she has a cat at home will be refrain from cleaning the cat's sandbox without gloves. The husband, wife or any other person in the household must perform this function during the period of pregnancy of the future mother. But the pregnant woman must also refrain from eating raw meat and will have to wash vegetables for salads very well.

The doctors

It's sad that there are still doctors who recommend pregnant women to be get rid of your cats. These types of absurd advice are a clear sign that the doctor is not well informed or trained. Because there are many medical studies on toxoplasmosis that affect the vectors of infection of the disease, and cats are one of the most unlikely.

It is as if the doctor discourages a pregnant woman from getting on a plane, because the device could crash. Absurd.

If you want to read more articles similar to Is it bad to have cats during pregnancy?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.

Comments (46) Add comment


The bacterium called toxoplasmosis only affects you if you swallow its essees. And if there is a lot of information on the internet. but the important thing is the source from which it comes. even as jared says obviously the most important thing is the bb :)

but well if you're going to do that to the cat. then do not eat ham or sausage or pork or anything. Be careful with cheeses because they may not be pasteurized.

Even so at the beginning of pregnancy they send you to do studies for toxoplasmosis. Anyone can have the bacteria, not just who has a cat. ask your doc : D

Here I pass you infooo from the internet. I researched a lot for about 5 years that I had my first cat because here it is said that the simple fact of being a woman cats hurt you. lie.

Sources of infection

The most frequent source of infection is not companion animals as it is mistakenly believed and continues to spread without scientific basis.

The reality is that the source through which the parasite enters humans most often is through contaminated food: meat (when undercooked, since a large percentage is contaminated) and poorly washed fruits and vegetables.

Of the meats available for market consumption (or game meats), a large percentage of all species is contaminated, so anyone who consumes meat has (in fact) consumed meat contaminated by the parasite. It is also possible that by handling the contaminated meat with the hands, when taken to the mouth, the parasite was ingested.

On the other hand, a person who consumes vegetables and fruits with the necessary frequency, can consume them without the proper washing to eliminate the parasite at some time. It can also be consumed manipulated by third parties without being able to monitor if the washing is sufficient (for example, in restaurants).

The last route of contagion usually occurs between people who work the land with their hands, either farmers, or gardening. In the soil the parasite is usually present in large quantities. A person who manipulates the earth with bare hands can introduce traces of dirt under the nails. Despite washing hands with soap and water, dirt can always remain under the nails. Then, if you put your hands in your mouth, it is easy to get infected from it and / or other parasites. If you are a person who works in the field, you do not have to wash your hands every time you manipulate that land and in an oversight (or by bad habit) you can take your hands without washing your mouth.

In order for a cat to produce infectious feces it has to be spread. That is, a cat that is not infected and lives in a house without access to the outside and eating feed or cooked meat, cannot be infected and therefore cannot infect others.

If the cat has access to the outside or is wild, or eats raw meat, or hunts birds or mice and eats them, then it can become infected.

Once infected, it incubates the parasite for a period of between 3 and 20 days (according to the way in which it is ingested, which determines the phase in which the parasite is found). After and for only a period of 1 month, release the oocysts in the stool. After that, even if he becomes infected again, he will never release oocysts.

For these feces with oocysts (oocytes) to be infectious, they need a time of exposure to the environment between 24 and 48 hours. Normal people living with cats at home often remove feces from sandboxes more frequently, preventing these oocysts from maturing and becoming infectious. And then, a very intimate contact with these feces is necessary to become infected from them. It is necessary to eat the cat's feces to become infected (something that only children or people with mental illnesses do) or else, manipulate them with their hands and without keeping minimum hygiene measures, take them to the mouth. Again we quote the "normal people" that if you have to perform a cleaning of feces, cat or any animal, then try to wash your hands with soap and water. Not only can Toxoplasma Gondii be introduced into the body in this way, also other parasites, bacteria and viruses, much more dangerous and even lethal at times such as Escherichia coli.

Therefore, any person who lives with a cat or several as pets, even with access to the outside and until they sometimes eat raw animals hunted by them (that is, cats at risk of becoming infected with the parasite), with the simplest measure of Possible hygiene (hand washing after cleaning the sandbox or wearing gloves), avoid becoming infected with the dreaded Toxoplasma.

It is known that the parasite crosses the placenta and can be transmitted to the fetus, if the mother becomes infected for the first time during pregnancy. If the infection occurred before becoming pregnant, the new baby cannot be infected. The risk is lower if the infection occurred in the last weeks of pregnancy. With much less frequency, the parasite can be transmitted by blood transfusion, or organ transplantation.

In cases where it is detected that a pregnant woman has been infected with the parasite, there are medications that can help stop the infection to prevent damage to the fetus.