Pet care & behaviour
What is toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. It can infect both cats and people, but most healthy animals and people won’t get sick because their immune systems will protect them.
How toxoplasmosis is transmitted to humans
Most people who get toxoplasmosis get it from eating undercooked meat or unwashed produce. Because cats only shed the parasite for the first few days after becoming infected, infection from cats is rare.
- Handling and/or eating raw or undercooked food
- Handling and/or eating unwashed fruits and vegetables
- Drinking unpasteurized milk
- Eating or drinking from contaminated sources
- Being exposed to cat feces from their litter box
- Being exposed to gardens or sandboxes that may have cat feces in them
Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy
Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are more at risk for infection. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, her baby may have health problems.
Can pregnant women be around cats?
Yes, pregnant women can be around their cats, though there are some precautions to take:
- Do not change your cat’s litter. If you have to change the cat’s litter yourself, make sure you wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands after
- Do not interact with any unknown cats
- Keep your cat inside
- Don’t feed any raw or undercooked meat to your cat
Still concerned about your pet and your baby?
- If you have more questions or concerns about toxoplasmosis and your baby’s health, please talk to your doctor.
- If you are concerned about toxoplasmosis and your pet’s health, please talk to your veterinarian.
Allowing a female cat or dog to produce a litter does not have any benefits to the animal. Animals who go through heat cycles and pregnancy are at higher risk for uterine and mammary problems, including mammary cancer, which can be fatal.
There are health risks to the mother during the pregnancy and when giving birth. Proper pre-natal care, emergency care for birth complications, and proper newborn care are expensive and time-consuming.
Learn more about the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet.