Can I Get Toxoplasmosis From Kissing My Cat?

How are people infected with toxoplasmaThe answer to the question in the title is “yes, but the chances are extremely slight”. The reason why there is a almost infinitesimal risk of getting toxoplasmosis from your cat if you kiss him is because a cat cleans his bottom with his tongue. The cat also may have toxoplasmosis oocysts in his feaces. So you can see how transmission from cat to person could occur. However, a cat that is infected with toxomplasmosis…..

“will only shed oocysts (eggs) in his or her faeces for a short time of about ten days after being exposed to the disease. After this period there is “no further significant shedding” and no risk to people” (Michael on this page).

About 47% of domestic cats in Iowa, USA have been infected. I would suggest that might be fairly typical. But a similar number of people are also infected worldwide. About 30% of Americans have been exposed to the disease as they have antibodies in their bloodstream but the vast majority show no symptoms.

I think these facts set the scene and tell us how rare and to be honest how unimportant the risk of infection is from kissing your cat. There are people who are more vulnerable than others such people with weak immune systems and pregnant women, who are advised to take precautions when doing the cat litter tray but they should also take precautions when handling raw meat because the risk from raw meat is far greater than the risk from your domestic cat. Their unborn child is at risk but the precautions are easy to take and there is no need to relinquish the family cat.

The problem with toxoplasmosis is hype – media hype. The reporters who know little or nothing about cats and who are required to dramatise stories paint an inaccurate picture of the risk of a toxoplasmosis being transferred from cat companion to cat caretaker.

Before the internet almost no one had heard of toxoplasmosis. It is the internet which has done a disservice to the cat and frightened some people into seeing risk and hazards where there are none or where there are almost none.

The link below takes you to a page where there are three PDF files about toxoplasmosis. They provide a balanced viewpoint. One is by CDC (USA).

Info about Toxo

Facebook Comments


Can I Get Toxoplasmosis From Kissing My Cat? — 7 Comments

  1. I have never worried about this. Even when I was pregnant for my son (now 23), I didn’t worry about it. I always kissed my cat. She was indoor/outdoor at the time, so I had no box to clean. It was never an issue with me.

  2. I think I’d have caught it by now after living, working and volunteering all my adult life with cats.
    As usual the press like to paint cats in a bad light!

  3. Know what?
    I wouldn’t really care.
    I have kissed my cats on their lips since 3 years old.
    Nothing is going to make me stop.

    • Nor me. Some people are concerned but a lot of the concern comes from misreporting of the risks or demonising toxoplasmosis. The title is what people search for on Google. It is what is called a “keyword”.

  4. Dee, Michael, it is soothing and fun to talk to those who know nothing about toxoplasmosis, don’t you agree? I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter, and the nurses, actually, were disrepectful towards me, thinking that I was ignorant when I told them that I could clean the litterbox any day, as I had been doing it [in the sandbox] since Day One. 😉

  5. And my twenty-two year old daughter Madeline will attest to this. (She nutures/fosters bunnies, by the way, but still loves all animals.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.