Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease that can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal. The danger with this disease is that it can cause severe birth defects, retardation or death to an unborn baby in certain situations. Cats belong to the family of animals (felid) which is mostly prone to the toxoplasmosis infection. For this reason, pregnant women are always told to stay away from or get rid of their cats at the time of their pregnancy. Is this step really necessary?
Fact is, this whole process of kicking the furry friend out is unnecessary. Cats can either inherit this disease from their mothers or catch it from being exposed to dirty outdoor cat activities or from raw foods. What most women aren’t aware of is that there’s a higher chance of a pregnant woman catching the disease from ingesting raw or semi-raw foods than from their cats.
Fortunately, due to some easy measures, cat loving women do not have to face the dilemma of “To keep the cat or the baby?” Cats can be tested for the disease; they might not even have it in the first place! Also, to a good percent of women who have already been exposed to the disease at some previous point in their lives, chances are they’re already immune to the disease and therefore should not worry about passing the disease on to their babies.
However, for the worst case scenarios sake, certain precautions and measurements can be taken to avoid the harm that could be the cause to both the cat and the baby. First step would be avoiding the litter box (where all the toxo oocysts are found within the cat’s feces) which would lead to direct transmission of the infection. Second step would be abstaining from feeding the cat any raw (or not well cooked) meats. Third and most essential step is constant sterilization and disinfection of all surfaces, objects, and personal hygiene.