Cat Care & Pregnancy Tips, Risks, and What to Avoid
Myths about cats and pregnant women
The great myth about pregnancy and risks your cat poses to you while you’re pregnant are just that… myths! It’s safe for women to have their cats in the home while they’re pregnant. Of course, you’ll want to avoid some things as much as possible while you’re pregnant, and the following months, to ensure your newborn is healthy.
However, there are plenty of outside risks that pose greater risks of harm to you while you’re pregnant than your cat does. So, if you’re thinking about getting rid of your cat, don’t move so quickly just yet.
Cat Litter & Cleaning Cat Poop While Pregnant
While you are pregnant, it is best to avoid cleaning cat litter. It’s a great excuse to pass the duties onto your husband or to your children for several months. Although you’re not likely going to contract any disease from cleaning your cat’s litter, it’s best to avoid exposure to their feces while you’re pregnant.
If you do not have anyone in the home that can help you, ask a neighbor, friend, or coworker if they can assist you for this time. And, if you end up having to clean their litter, take a few steps to avoid coming into direct contact with their feces. You should
- Wear rubber gloves while cleaning the litter, to avoid contact with your cat’s feces.
- Take care to cover your face to avoid breathing in the feces while changing their litter.
- Clean the rubber gloves after use, or use disposable gloves every day if possible.
- Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after cleaning your cat’s litter box.
You aren’t at severe risk of contracting toxoplasmosis or other diseases, simply by cleaning your cat’s litter box. If you have an indoor cat, they will most likely not transmit any diseases to you.
Of course, if all possible, you’ll want to avoid cleaning the litter box. But, if you can’t, you are safe doing so if you take these steps you should be safe. Remember, your cat’s litter should be changed every day, and twice daily if possible while you’re pregnant. So, make sure you have help in doing so, or take the appropriate steps in changing their litter to ensure your safety.
A cute video I found on Youtube
Breathing in or Stepping on Cat Litter While Pregnant
You normally can’t contract toxoplasmosis from your cat’s feces just from stepping on it. If you are infected, it is usually through another source (as detailed below, usually undercooked or contaminated meat products). Even if your cat is infected, the oocysts they excrete in their feces requires up to 48 hours for it to become infected.
Therefore, as long as you’re following our tip of cleaning the liter regularly and keeping your cat’s litterbox clean, the feces is not going to become contaminated.
As long as you take special care, you’re not going to contract the disease from breathing in feces, nor will you become contaminated by stepping on it. Although, there are obvious ways to prevent both of these problems from occurring in the first place. If you are afraid of stepping in cat feces, make sure you keep the litter box in a corner of the home where you only go when you have to clean it. And, you can always wear shoes inside to prevent stepping on it as well.
And, as we’ve detailed in our instructions above, you shouldn’t have to worry about breathing in the odors either, as you should be wearing a mask when you’re changing their litter. As long as special care is taken to avoid contact with your cat’s feces you should be safe, but it’s always a safe measure you can take if you want to be extra careful when caring for your cat while you are pregnant.
What is Toxoplasmosis? & Will You Contract it from Contact with Cat Feces?
Toxoplasmosis is a rare condition, caused by parasitic attacks to mothers, who can transmit the disease to their unborn child. Toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects, and in some cases, can lead to miscarriage.
Toxoplasmosis can be caused by coming into contact with cat feces. However, this isn’t the primary cause, nor is it a reason for you to immediately get rid of your cat. The CDC has even stepped in to say that it’s highly unlikely your cat will transfer this condition onto you while you’re pregnant. The condition is most often associated with consuming undercooked or raw meat in humans, not interacting with their cats.
What are the chances of contracting toxoplasmosis from my cat?
The chances of contracting toxoplasmosis from your cat are low; however, you can take a few steps to make that possibility even lower. For example, you can
- Cats are more likely to consume rodents or other items that contain tissue cysts (which causes this infection) when left outside a lot.
- A cat’s litter box is cleaned every day; if possible, twice a day. The cleaner your cat’s litter box the less likely germs are living in it.
- If you do not have a person to help you change the litter, wear gloves and a mask while changing the litter (wash your hands immediately afterward as well).
You’re at a far greater risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from undercooked or infected meat products than you are from your cat. Especially if your cat is an indoor cat, and has been their entire life. So, take these precautions, make sure you keep your home clean and make sure their litter box is clean. Apart from this, you don’t run much of a risk of contracting this, or other illnesses from your feline friend, as long as you keep them indoors at all times.
In most cases, your cat is not a threat to transmitting toxoplasmosis while you are pregnant. This myth is one that has been spread for many years and has been dispelled by the CDC as well as many veterinarians who get the question frequently. It’s best to avoid cleaning their litter and coming into contact with feces while you’re pregnant if you can do so. However, if you are the sole caretaker for your feline friend, you can take the precautions we’ve highlighted above, to avoid contacting/smelling/stepping on feces, while you are pregnant and caring for your pet child that you love so much.
Here are a few tips for making the nesting box comfortable and warm;
- Place layers of clean newspapers on the box to absorb any odor or moisture.
- Line clean towels, mattress pads, or blankets on top of the newspapers. Blankets and towels should not have large holes as kitten paws and heads can easily get entangled or caught. Therefore, avoid using loose bedding such as hay, straw, and shavings as they might block their noses when sleeping. Also, lose beddings such as hay may produce dust which may lead to respiratory infections.
- Place a heating pad with a low-temperature setting under the towels or blankets. Kittens find it hard to regulate their body temperature until they are three weeks old. Therefore, it is important to maintain the temperatures in their nesting box to keep them warm. Temperatures of between 85-95 degrees F are ideal. Ensure that you check the heating pad often to prevent it from overheating. Steer away from using electric blankets as they can be too hot for kittens and can cause burns.
- Also, do not place the nesting box directly on concrete as it can draw heat from the kittens
With the above housing tips for a nursing cat and kittens, you will be able to provide a better environment for them all.
Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before taking any advice you find on this or any website. I do not claim to be an expert and am only passing on things I have read.
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