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Women who have a pet cat at home would hear numerous times about cat litter being dangerous during pregnancy. Suggestions might range from getting rid of the cat altogether to changing homes temporarily. While such drastic measures are rarely required, there is a chance of cat litter spreading a very potent infection to the pregnant mother, which can affect the unborn child as well.
Can You Pet a Cat When Pregnant?
The sudden awareness of the harm cat litter can bring may make you question the very presence of a pet animal in your home. Maybe your child wants to bring in a cat around the same time that you’ve got pregnant. It works to your benefit in knowing what aspects of an animal are harmless, and which ones deem extra precaution.
- Cat litter is definitely a matter of concern when you are pregnant because of the presence of toxins and parasite in the faeces. At times, if your pregnancy complications are risky, doctors might suggest staying away from any pet animals, at least for the initial trimester, if not the entire pregnancy.
- While keeping a pet cat, keeping its diet restricted to food cooked at home or using canned equivalents can keep it protected from any infections.
- It is necessary to check if you are allergic to cat fur or any kind of animal hair. As long as that isn’t the case, keeping a cat at home and playing around with it isn’t harmful at all.
Why Should a Pregnant Woman Not Handle Cat Litter?
The connection between cat litter and pregnancy risks is not unfounded and does have a proper reason behind it. The major issue with that is the presence of parasites in the faeces, which can cause a mother to be infected with toxoplasmosis. Many cats do have the possibility of Toxoplasma Gondii being present in their excreta. When a pregnant woman comes in contact with it, maybe in the process of changing cat litter or even working with the soil in the home garden, the parasite can easily find its way into the body, and even the baby. These parasites are not developed inherently within the cat but are generally transmitted once it eats any infected animals or comes into contact with any other infected litter as well.
This infection can have major ramifications if it reaches the baby. While some symptoms may not even be detected or visible even after birth, some babies are born with major brain damage causing them to be retarded or even have certain senses impaired as a result of it. Any infection by that parasite prior to pregnancy builds up your immunity against it and protects your body from any subsequent infections.
Precautions to Take While Cleaning Cat Litter Box During Pregnancy
While it is best to keep some distance from your pets while you are pregnant, giving away your pet cat to somebody else for nearly a year might not be an option you’d like to entertain. In such a case, you can keep yourself safe by taking a few important precautions.
- For houses that have a backyard or an open garden where your cat likes to play in its sandbox or other play areas, it is important to keep it protected from other neighbourhood cats or animals which could bring their own contaminations to it.
- Make sure you keep your cat away from coming into contact with any other cats or stray kittens, even by accident.
- Any infection that your cat contracts, there is a good chance it will pass it on to you. Therefore, reduce the chances of that happening by keeping away raw meat in your cat’s food.
- The faeces of the cat do have the potential to contain toxoplasma, which can be harmful to pregnant women extensively. Therefore, when coming in contact with areas such as gardens and other places where you cat might urinate or poop, use gloves and wash your hands properly after cleaning is completed.
- If you make use of homegrown vegetables or fruits, make sure the utensils you use to cut and chop them are disinfected properly after every use.
- Every vegetable or fruit that you take from your own garden must be cleaned intensely and used only after you are sure they are clean and safe.
- When getting meat for your cat, make sure you keep it frozen for numerous days in the fridge to get rid of any infection thriving inside it.
- As much as possible, stay away from coming in direct contact with raw meat, even when preparing it for somebody else. Make use of gloves and follow extreme hygiene if you do.
- It is highly recommended for your partner or somebody else to take up the responsibility of cleaning up the litter box of your cat. If at all you are left with no option but to do it yourself, gloves and hygiene have to be followed strictly down to the letter.
- Since the parasites that are present in the cat faeces take nearly two days to get active and reach a potential of infection, it works to your benefit to clean the litter every day to keep the chances of infection minimal.
- Opt to keep your cat indoors as much as possible. This will reduce the chances of it coming into contact with other animals as well as procuring unhealthy items from outside and ingesting them.
Whether you accidentally end up smelling cat litter while pregnant or come in contact with it directly, maintaining high standards of hygiene and indulging in strong disinfection is strongly recommended to keep yourself safe from any risks whatsoever. Your baby needs to be protected from any kind of harm and this is a pretty small cost to pay for it.