What diseases or parasites can I get from my outdoor cat?

Outdoor cats are prone to many diseases, most of which are zoonotic and transmittable to you. Some of those diseases spread by an outdoor cat are the cat scratch fever, rabies, roundworm, ringworm and toxoplasmosis. 

Cat scratch fever is a bacterial disease as the result of a cat ingesting flea feces through self-grooming. It can also be from an infected tick. You can get it by a bite or scratch from your cat. It can also be transmitted by the saliva of your cat by licking your open wound.

Roundworm is a parasite common in cats. If the eggs of the parasite is ingested by you through unclean conditions while handling cat feces, it can produce a worm that migrates to the liver, brain, lungs and eyes. Children are more susceptible to the parasite if they eat dirt contaminated by feces or any form of the parasite. The biggest form of contamination is when the kids don’t wash their hands after playing outside.

Toxoplasmosis is another parasitic disease common in cats and a danger for pregnant women because of a compromised immune system. It usually comes from a feline eating an infected prey or raw meat and is passed on through contact with the feces of the cat. 

Rabies most often occurs when a cat is in contact with a rabid animal and in turn bites their human. If the outdoor cat has never been protected with the rabies vaccine, it may be rabid. If it bites you, wash the area immediately with soap and water, apply an antiseptic such as Iodine and call your doctor.

Ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It is in fact a fungal infection in cats. Ringworm is very contagious if you are in close contact with your cat through petting or any other close connection. Ringworm will show up as bald circular patches on the skin and fur. The skin may be greasy or dry, and the nails may be deformed. It usually heals itself in cats.

Preventing most of these diseases from cats can be avoided through common sense and cleanliness. Always wear disposable gloves when cleaning litter boxes or handling feces in any way. If controlling fleas or other parasites on your cat, remember to wash your hands well afterwards. With a little personal hygiene, you can lessen the chances of contracting any of these diseases tremendously. 


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