Is It Safe To Keep A Cat During Pregnancy?

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Cat and Pregnancy

Pets are a wonderful part of our family. They are great companions and provide us with plenty of love and fun. From feeding your feline friend to cleaning her littering box, you always make sure to provide her healthy life as a cat pet owner. If you already have your fur baby and are about to add a human baby to your family member, you must have some concerns about your pregnancy and keeping a pet. You may be thinking about potential safety and health risks and wondering if it is safe to be around your cat while expecting a baby.

So, if you are all set to welcome a newborn baby to your family, then there are some things that you should be aware of! In this post, we have collected some information that you need to know about having a feline companion and how it can affect your pregnancy and your new baby.

Pregnancy and Cats

When a female pet owner is expecting a baby, there is always one question in her mind – is it safe for me to keep a cat? The short and simple answer to your question is yes, but few precautions. Women face many worries during their pregnancy, and your pet cat should not be one of them.

Cats mostly carry a common parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. The risk of getting infected with this infection is low, but you need to take a few sensible precautions as a pregnant lady. Keep reading to explore them!

A pregnant woman is reading a book with her cat

What is Toxoplasmosis, and Where is it Found?

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that infects warm-blooded animals and humans. If you have a solid immune system, there are chances of showing a few symptoms. It is hard to realize if pet owners have it in some cases. If a pregnant woman is infected with toxoplasmosis or has a conception, then the infection can cause severe congenital disabilities.

Toxoplasmosis is commonly found in cat feces, raw or undercooked meat, contaminated vegetables and fruits, and garden soil. When a cat eats mice or other small animals infected with the parasite, the infection is more likely to spread in the family if precautions are not taken into consideration.

How Does Toxoplasmosis Spread?

Following are the reasons behind the spreading of toxoplasmosis.

  • When you touch dirt, such as garden soil, where your cat may have been roaming, then you may like to catch the infection.
  • When you clean the kitty litter box, wear safety gloves.
  • And when you eat undercooked it means lamb, pork or deer meat.

Signs and Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis

If you ever get a toxoplasmosis infection, the following are the signs and symptoms. Make sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

  • Severe headache
  • Body aches
  • High fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue or tiredness

If you think you have been infected with toxoplasmosis, then rush to your health care provider because many people don’t show any symptoms or signs of the infection.

A couple and their beloved cat

How Can I Take Care of My Cat During Pregnancy?

Just like caring for your upcoming baby, you will want not to ignore your fur baby. You still make sure to provide her with the best care. How can you do this during pregnancy? Read the tips below!

  • It will be best if you ask someone else in your family to take responsibility for your cat, from feeding to cleaning her litter box. You can also get all your work done under your supervision.
  • Try to clean your cat’s litter box daily. When your cat poops, it usually takes 1 to 5 days for the parasite to become infectious. Therefore, changing the litter box regularly helps eliminate the risk of infection from the litter box.
  • Always use gloves for gardening and cleaning vegetables. Wash your hands after changing a litter box and handling raw meat.
  • Do not adopt stray cats because they have weak immune systems, and they are exposed to toxoplasmosis more by eating small animals and parasites. Kittens are more prone to infection due to weaker immune systems.

How Can I Keep Myself Safe During Pregnancy?

So you have read about taking care of your cat during your pregnancy, but what should you do to keep yourself safe while taking care of your feline companion? Here are some tips that will help keep you and your baby safe from harmful infections and diseases.

  • Before the birth of your baby, make sure your cat is up to date with complete vaccination.
  • Ask one of your family members to spend more time with your pet cat before the baby comes so that the cat becomes used to spending less time with you. 
  • Before your baby comes, train bad habits to your cat like biting, scratching and excessive jumping. Most importantly, do not ever let your little cat jump up onto your belly.
  • Keep your cat indoors and away from stray cats. Avoid feeding your cat undercooked meat.
  • Seek medical treatment if you get bitten or scratched by a cat.

Postnatal Tips

Take a piece of cloth that smells like a baby before the baby comes home. This trick will help your cat familiarize with the baby’s scent and develop a positive introduction.

While your baby is sleeping, supervise your cat or keep the baby’s room close because animals like to curl up in warm places, especially cats, who are known to snuggle on top of sleeping babies.

While cats bring a pleasant atmosphere at home, the responsibility for the wellbeing of newborns during pregnancy also becomes crucial. Taking a few safety steps and measures can be quite beneficial for you and your baby’s health throughout the pregnancy.

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