When you are pregnant, it is common to hear a lot of differing views and suggestions about what to do and what not.
One such advice you may have heard is that, when you are pregnant, you must stay away from cats. If you have a cat at home, it can be really difficult to give it away. Alternatively, you may be wondering if you can safely keep your cat at home, or is it hazardous to be around one during those nine months.
Should You Avoid Cats During Pregnancy?
Keeping your furry friends can be an option during pregnancy, if you take a few precautions.
When Are Cats Safe To Be With?
Cats, on their own, do not pose a problem.
- Cat fur is considered safe, unless you are allergic to it. Allergies can grow severe during pregnancy.
- If you have an indoor cat which does not venture out much, it won’t be risky to be around.
- Feeding your cat canned, homemade or properly cooked food will ensure that it does not catch any infections.
Risk From Cat Litter:
While cats are fine to be around while you are pregnant, it is the cat litter which can be dangerous.
- Cat litter is said to be responsible for carrying and spreading a disease called toxoplasmosis. It is caused by a parasite called toxoplasma gondii.
- The risk is high when the germs come in contact with your skin or cross contamination is caused to any food item that you consume.
- If there is no fixed place for disposing of litter, it can be dangerous.
- An outdoor cat may spread litter in your garden. Be careful while gardening and wear gloves.
This disease related to cat litter affects many women. Here are a few facts you should consider:
- You can be affected by toxoplasmosis even by having improperly cooked meat or outside food that is contaminated with the germs
- In case the infection happens during pregnancy or during conception stage, it can harm the unborn baby. There are higher chances of miscarriage in early stage and problems related to brain and eyesight development of fetus in later stages.
- Get a blood test done for detecting the presence of the infection in your body.
- If you have had the disease once and been treated for it, you may develop antibodies. You will have little risk of transferring the infection to baby.
Precautions While Handling Cat Litter:
You can take the following steps to stay safe from contamination:
- Avoid cleaning cat litter around the house, or from the litter box. Ask another family member to do it.
- In case you have to handle the litter box, make sure that you are wearing gloves (preferably disposable ones), and a mask. Covering yourself well will ensure that the germs don’t come in contact directly with skin.
- Put the litter box in a place where it is not disturbed or moved about, specially out of reach of kids and certainly far removed from the kitchen.
- When you carry the litter box, make sure that the doors are already open, so that you don’t touch them.
- If you are emptying the litter in a sink, ask someone else to open the tap. Avoid touching anything while handling the litter.
- Once you are done with disposing of the litter, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 30 seconds with a good disinfectant hand wash.
- Clean out the litter every day. The parasites have time to grow if left unattended for even a day. So cleaning daily will minimize the risk.
Basic hygiene is the key to steering clear of any infections and diseases. Hence, follow these suggestions and stay healthy. You can still cuddle your cat during pregnancy and the bright side is that you can handover the dirty job to someone else.
Remember, your doctor is the best person to guide you for all things related during pregnancy. Make sure you check on this too. Stay safe and stay healthy!
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