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What Diseases Can I Catch From My Cat? (Vet Answer)

Typically, you cannot get infections from your cat. Nonetheless, there are a few illnesses that can be transmitted between people and felines. Zoonotic illnesses are diseases that can be spread between animals and humans. If either you or your cat has one of these diseases, you may wish to take steps to prevent its spread. "What Diseases Can I Catch From My Cat?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) includes a list of diseases that both cats and people can contract.

10 Diseases Cats Transmit To Humans

1. Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is likely the most well-known of the illnesses that may be transmitted by cats. This parasite is harmless to the vast majority of adults and children. It can, however, cause birth abnormalities in fetuses. Due to the risk of infection, it is not suggested that pregnant women touch cat litter.

Hence, the majority of the population has or has had toxoplasmosis. It is a highly prevalent parasite. As most individuals are asymptomatic, they are unaware they have it. Birth abnormalities are exclusively caused by newly acquired infections. Being pregnant when infected usually does not result in birth abnormalities.)

Little details are known about this parasite. We do know that it may cause brain abnormalities in rats, thus it may also occur in humans. Particularly, it is believed to promote risky conduct.

2. Campylobacteriosis

Typically, this illness produces diarrhea and is not dangerous. It is caused by Campylobacter jejuni bacteria. The majority of transmission happens during litter box cleaning.

But, bear in mind that this can also be contracted by consuming contaminated food or drink. Infections are especially prevalent throughout the summer.

Nonetheless, outbreaks are fairly uncommon. The majority of instances are isolated incidents, not epidemics.

3. Ringworm

Contrary to its name, ringworm is really a fungus that feeds on the keratin of the skin. Because it is so close to the skin’s surface, you can easily contract it by contacting an infected region of your cat.

Occasionally, cats acquire regions of hair loss accompanied by distinctive round red lesions or deeper “cigarette ash” lesions. Nevertheless, long-haired cats may not have hair loss, making it difficult to distinguish between infected and uninfected areas.

Hence, it is typical for people to catch ringworm from cats with the condition.

4. Cat-Scratch Fever

This disease is caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae, which is frequently spread to human skin by cat food or when a cat licks an exposed wound on a human (which you should never allow your cat to do).

It can also be spread through a cat bite that breaks the skin, however this occurs less frequently. The bacterium is typically transmitted between cats through infected flea bites.

Typically, this ailment is accompanied by a blister, fever, headache, loss of appetite, and muscle and joint discomfort. The lymph nodes close to the site of infection may enlarge. Those in good health will recover with no permanent consequences. Children and immunocompromised adults may require antibiotic treatment.

5. Roundworms and Hookworms

The cat’s intestinal parasites include hookworms and roundworms. Particularly, Toxocara and Ancylostoma pose a zoonotic risk to humans when transmitted by cats. These parasites travel throughout the skin and organs, causing damage and swelling.

It is important to keep your cat’s deworming regimen current, as well as to have yearly fecal examinations performed by a veterinarian, to use gloves when cleaning the litter box, and to constantly wash your hands afterward.

Observe youngsters who are at a greater risk of contracting this disease because they place their hands in their mouths more frequently.

6. Cryptosporidiosis

This parasite is capable of infecting nearly all animals, including cats and humans. Typical infection symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and appetite loss. The risk is greatest while cleaning out the litter box.

Always wear gloves when scooping the litter box and stay current on your cat’s antiparasitic regimen.

7. Giardiasis

This parasite may infect both humans and felines. This parasite may remain outside the body for weeks or even days, making it easier to spread.

You might contract it by touching contaminated excrement or from your cat. Yet, the majority of human cases of Giardiasis are caused by the consumption of contaminated food or drink.

This ailment often causes fever, itchy skin, and hives. It might also result in weight reduction over time. Some individuals exhibit no symptoms.

8. Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is one of the most prevalent diseases that you might obtain from your cat. This illness is caused by the salmonella bacteria.

This study claimed that Salmonella infections are more prevalent in cats fed raw food. Often, transmission to people occurs via contaminated food. Hence, this is typically considered a foodborne sickness. Infected individuals will have fever, diarrhea, and stomach pains within a few days. After a few days of presenting symptoms, recovery is frequently feasible without medicine.

To prevent transmission, prepare your cat’s food, use gloves while cleaning the litter box, and wash your hands immediately afterwards. In addition, you should always wash your hands before eating or preparing food.

9. Rabies

Rabies is perhaps the most preventable disease you might receive from your cat. This fatal virus should be inoculated against by your cat. Study showed that rabies is spread by infected animals’ body secretions. This often happens via bites.

Rabies is a disease with a wide variety of peculiar symptoms. The virus infects the neurological system and produces alterations in behavior. Sick cats are frequently agitated and aggressive, which increases the likelihood of biting and disease transmission. People frequently acquire a phobia of water, resulting in dehydration.

10. Sporotrichosis

Sporotrichosis is a fungal infection caused by exposure to the Sporothrix fungus. You can become infected if you come into touch with fungal spores from an infected cat.

Yet, this illness is only infrequently transmitted through animal interaction. Instead, you are more likely to become sick after being exposed to spores outside. This fungus may exist in soil and on some plants.

11. Cat tapeworm

Both humans and cats may contract tapeworms. This parasite is often acquired by handling contaminated cat feces and then contacting your lips or face. There are several species of tapeworm, yet they are all quite similar.

It is exceedingly unusual for people to contract tapeworms from cats, but it is conceivable, therefore it is crucial to keep your cat’s deworming program up to date.


As can be seen in “What Diseases Can I Catch From My Cat?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), you can get a variety of illnesses from your cat.

Luckily, the majority of these disorders are benign and are not associated with several severe sequelae. Children and others with impaired immune systems may be more susceptible to serious sickness, so they may need to take additional measures.

Nevertheless, it is uncommon to really get any of these diseases from your cat. As long as your cat has been vaccinated against diseases such as rabies, the likelihood of it contracting the disease is almost null.

Several of these illnesses are transmitted by feces. Hence, it is imperative that you handle the litter box with correct hygiene.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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