What diseases can cats infect humans?

Cats can transmit certain diseases to humans, although the risk is generally low. Here are some common zoonotic diseases that may be carried by cats:

  1. Cat Scratch Disease (CSD): Caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae, CSD is usually transmitted through scratches or bites from infected cats. Symptoms include swelling, painful lymph nodes, fever, and fatigue. Most healthy adults recover without lasting effects, but severe cases may require antibiotic treatment. Approximately 40% of cats carry this bacterium, but most remain asymptomatic¹.
  2. Toxoplasmosis: This parasitic infection can be transmitted from cats to humans. It’s usually acquired through contact with contaminated cat feces. While most healthy individuals experience mild flu-like symptoms, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems should take precautions. Pregnant women should avoid cleaning litter boxes, and everyone should practice good hygiene when handling cat waste¹².
  3. Cryptosporidiosis: Caused by the protozoan Cryptosporidium, this infection leads to diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration in both cats and humans. Proper hygiene and avoiding exposure to contaminated water or soil are essential to prevent transmission¹.
  4. Giardiasis: Another protozoal disease, giardiasis causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea. Cats can carry the parasite Giardia without showing signs, so maintaining good hygiene and avoiding contaminated water sources are crucial².
  5. Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, and Cryptosporidium: These diarrheal diseases can be transmitted from cats to humans. Wearing gloves while handling cat litter and practicing good hygiene are essential preventive measures².

Remember that the likelihood of contracting these diseases from cats is low for most people. However, individuals with weakened immune systems should take extra precautions. Regular veterinary care, proper hygiene, and responsible cat ownership can minimize the risk of zoonotic infections¹²³.

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(1) Zoonotic Disease: What Can I Catch from My Cat?. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/zoonotic-disease-what-can-i-catch-my-cat.
(2) Cat Infections That Can Spread to Humans – Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/look-what-else-the-cat-dragged-in-1958915.
(3) Can Cats Get Sick From Humans? | Litter-Robot. https://www.litter-robot.com/blog/can-cats-get-sick-from-humans/.
(4) Diseases That Can Spread Between Animals and People. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/index.html.
(5) 15 Diseases Humans Can Get From Cats – Kittentoob. https://kittentoob.com/15-diseases-humans-can-get-cats/.

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