No need to ditch your cat during pregnancy, experts reveal

Toxoplasmosis fears cause pregnant women to unnecessarily give up their cats for the safety of their unborn baby

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Cat loving pregnant women will be pleased to hear that they don’t have to get rid of their cats for the safety of their unborn child, as charity Cats Protection issue guidelines to reassure mums.

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A recent online survey of 1,500 mums or mums-to-be revealed that 60% of them believed their pets could pass on an illness to their babies, yet Cats Protection say that ditching your moggie is unnecessary as 35% of women are given the wrong advice about toxoplasmosis.

“Studies show that cat owners are statistically no more likely to get toxoplasmosis than non-cat owners. The chance of contracting the disease from your cat is very small indeed – in fact you are more likely to get it from handling raw meat,” said Maggie Roberts, Cat Protection’s Director of Veterinary Services

“Of course all cat owners should practice good hygiene routines, especially hand washing after dealing with a litter tray and before handling food, but that’s just common sense,” Maggie continues

“I’m horrified how many women give up a loved family pet because they wrongly believe they shouldn’t have contact with cats during pregnancy. This can upset the whole family. As for the poor cat, it goes into care and charities like Cats Protection are stuck with finding new homes – not an easy task in this current climate,” Dr Carol Cooper, a family doctor and parenting author, said.

Maggie believes that many women were taking advice from non-qualified resources, such as some online forums and blogs as well as family members.

Cats Protection suggests pregnant cat owners should follow these guidelines:

  • Get someone else to change your cat’s litter tray, but if you have to do it, make sure you wear gloves
  • Change your cat’s litter tray daily
  • Don’t feed your cat raw meat
  • Outdoor sandboxes should be kept covered
  • Gloves should be worn when gardening
  • Always wash your hands after contact with stray cats and kittens

For more information, watch Cats Protection’s short video.

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