Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

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Catsu
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Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Catsu » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:11 pm

I wasn't sure if this is the right place to ask but since it's related to healthy I thought it might.

I've been taking care of an outdoor cats for about 5 years now, and in recent months also of a mother cat and her 6 months old kitten. they mainly live in my yard.

I've been petting and cuddling the first cat for years, and I also do the kitten because she's friendly, they like to sleep on my lap/chest etc.

now I wasn't too much knowledgeable about worms and parasites (only that they exist) but recently I noticed the mother cat (I don't touch her since she's not friendly) has what I think are tapeworms ( I saw a little white worm moving on her anus)

it made me dive deeper into the subject and research a lot about it online, I understand humans can get infected by worms from cats as well, and some type of worms/parasites can actually have severe health effects on us, which all scared me quite a bit.

I don't really cuddle the first cat anymore, the mother I don't touch at all, and the kitten (which I do cuddle) I give anti-flea spot ons, but ultimately they are still outdoor cats.

I understand humans can get infected by having contact with contaminated feces or soil, and then have hand to mouth contact, while I do always make sure to never touch my face when I'm outside with them, and to always wash my hands throughly when I go back inside, I do not know what kind of invisible traces of soil/feces they may have on their fur, and since the kitten and the other cat sometimes sleep on my lap/chest and touch my clothes, it makes me very worried about my safety, because I'm undoubtedly unawarely touch my clothes and then my face/mouth throughout the day.

So my question is can I be infected that way? from their fur to my clothes contact and then hand to clothes to face/mouth contact?

If so how big of a risk is this? should I stop petting them/let them sit on my lap entirely? or am I overthinking this?

I'd greatly appreciate help on the matter.

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by fjm » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:17 am

The risk is very low, and if you wash your hands after handling them it is vanishingly small. You could reduce it still further by treating them for worms as well as fleas, either with a spot-on or a palatable tablet. If you look at the actual numbers of cases of humans harmed by cat parasites in developed countries they are extremely small, and often small children who are notoriously bad about hand washing. Worming the cats will protect them, too.

If you are, or may be, pregnant it may be worth being extra careful about hand washing and wearing gloves for gardening. This article may help reassure you https://news.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=2 ... NEWSASPX=1 - I particularly like its closing advice:

Weese offers this advice for anyone in close proximity to animals: “My five top tips for avoiding zoonotic parasites are: wash your hands, don't eat feces, wash your hands, don't eat feces and wash your hands.”

Holds good for life in general in these strange times!

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Mollycat » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:45 am

I can't add to this and did laugh at the advice, very good.

There is one really interesting thing you can catch from cats though and it's nothing to do with the usual parasites we treat for.

Meet Toxoplasma Gondii.
This single celled organism alters behaviour, it makes mice less fearful of cats, makes humans more likely to take risks, and is thought to contribute to some mental illness including but not limited to schizophrenia. It's a very, very interesting read.

There is no cure, it's not the first mind-bending zoonotic disease (Rabies is the best known) and around one third of humans are thought to be infected with TG. I use it as an excuse for just about anything, Oh, I've got cat-poop on the brain! Maybe I have.

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Sniper1 » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:58 pm

Oh mollycat your a gem next time I don't take the washing out of the machine or forget to put the bins out or even worse leave my work boots in the kitchen I can say to the Mrs I've got TG from all these cats....an absolute lifesaver thank you😁😻😍

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Catsu » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:58 pm

fjm wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:17 am
The risk is very low, and if you wash your hands after handling them it is vanishingly small. You could reduce it still further by treating them for worms as well as fleas, either with a spot-on or a palatable tablet. If you look at the actual numbers of cases of humans harmed by cat parasites in developed countries they are extremely small, and often small children who are notoriously bad about hand washing. Worming the cats will protect them, too.

If you are, or may be, pregnant it may be worth being extra careful about hand washing and wearing gloves for gardening. This article may help reassure you https://news.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=2 ... NEWSASPX=1 - I particularly like its closing advice:

Weese offers this advice for anyone in close proximity to animals: “My five top tips for avoiding zoonotic parasites are: wash your hands, don't eat feces, wash your hands, don't eat feces and wash your hands.”

Holds good for life in general in these strange times!
the kitten I do treat for fleas, the mother I can't because she's not friendly I can't touch her.
I intend to give them both pills for worms, the issue is that the effect does not last for long and they can simply be re-infected quickly, especially since they live outside.
I don't know how often I can give them pills, it's probably not recommended to give it to them all the time but I'll ask my vet how often I can.

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Catsu » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:00 pm

Mollycat wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:45 am
I can't add to this and did laugh at the advice, very good.

There is one really interesting thing you can catch from cats though and it's nothing to do with the usual parasites we treat for.

Meet Toxoplasma Gondii.
This single celled organism alters behaviour, it makes mice less fearful of cats, makes humans more likely to take risks, and is thought to contribute to some mental illness including but not limited to schizophrenia. It's a very, very interesting read.

There is no cure, it's not the first mind-bending zoonotic disease (Rabies is the best known) and around one third of humans are thought to be infected with TG. I use it as an excuse for just about anything, Oh, I've got cat-poop on the brain! Maybe I have.
Well you can also catch gondii for raw food and quite a it of other sources, not only cats.
How do you catch it from cats anyway? doesn't it work the same way as all other worms and parasites? from infected feces/soil contact and then mouth contact?

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Mollycat » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:26 am

Yes Catsu cats are the primary host and it's found in their faeces hence caution when changing litter trays or gardening, but also can be caught as you say like any other worms etc from contaminated undercooked meat. I'd rather have a mind-bending microbe than a tapeworm though.

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Ruth B » Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:38 am

Like has been said, most internal parasites will need to be carried from faeces to mouth in order for them to infect you. As long as you are careful to wash your hand properly after handling your cats you should be fine. Worming tablets are normally administered every 3 months and should keep the cat worm free during that time. Most cat pick up the parasites from eating prey they have caught, so if you can start worming them and they are used to coming to you for regular meals, while it might not stop them catching prey it might limit them eating it. There are also spot on worming treatments that might be worth looking into for those cats that will let you put it on them, no matter how palatable the tablets are supposed to be, some cats will still refuse to eat them.

So go out and give the cats a good fuss, but just be careful to wash your hands afterwards before touching your face or things like the kitchen sides where you prepare food.

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Catsu » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:06 pm

Need your help guys, so I tried giving the mother car medication against worms, it was a pill since I can't touch her the only option I have is through food, the problem is that she sensed the pill instantly even tho I mixed it up with wet food, and she didn't touch any of it I had to throw it away, the vet did mention that the pill is bitter, my guess is that the wet food started to dissolve the pill and she smelled it and stayed away from it.

the problem is how do I do this? if not mixing with food she won't touch the pill anyway, it's not flavored or anything.

Is there any brand that is actually flavored that I can purchase online or something? my vet only has that pill he gave me, which I failed to give.

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by Kay » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:40 pm

I have an outdoor cat who won't let me near him - I put a monthly dose of Program in his food for fleas, and Panacur granules for worms and he doesn't seem to detect either

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Re: Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Post by fjm » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:03 am

Mine eat the Panacur granules without problems, and they are available online or over the counter without a prescription.

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