Categories: Cat HealthInfection

Humans Transmitting Disease to Cats

By Graela (Flickr) - published under a Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.

Humans transmitting disease to cats is very rare it seems and it qualifies as cat news. I don't actually know of any except for the presumed transmission of swine flu to a cat from humans in the same household. Although it is worth mentioning that there seems to be some doubt as to whether the flu originated in pigs. As a result it is called H1N1 virus.

To remind ourselves zoonotic diseases are ones that are transmissible from animals to humans but it does not describe the transmission of disease in the other direction. Examples are cat scratch disease, feline rabies and ringworm

The H1N1 flu case in question occurred in Oregon, USA. The cat died. The cat was Buddy Lou and it was the first case of a cat dying of the H1N1 virus in the United States. The veterinarian could tell fairly quickly that this was not standard feline flu.

There have been other cases (two, I believe) one of which happened in Iowa. In these cases the cat pulled through.

The State Public Health Veterinarian of Oregon says that people should take care when handling a cat if the cat is ill. What about the other direction?

If we are ill with swine flu we should take steps to prevent transmission to our cat(s). The trouble is swine flu seems to have very similar symptoms to ordinary flu. And this story begs the question as to whether ordinary flu can be passed from human to cat. Has this been investigated? Well, the answer is that cats cannot get flu from us (except it seems swine flu - or have the vets made a mistake?)

Well, as the H1N1 virus only very rarely kills people yet it might be more dangerous to cats, I would have thought that in a cat sensitive household, the people living it in would take steps to prevent transmission to their cat. And that would mean the cat leaving the household for a while I would have thought.

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Humans Transmitting Disease to Cats

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Nov 21, 2009 Correct
by: Michael

Hi Ruth, I agree totally. The swine flu thing has been hyped up massively.


Nov 21, 2009 Flu
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

The trouble is people may not even have swine flu, they just jump on the bandwagon, it may just be ordinary flu.I had that a few weeks back but a neighbour with exactly the same symptoms reckoned she had swine flu.

She has 15 rescue cats,including some old and vulnerable ones, but none of them have caught it from her.

So there is no way of getting any statistics really unless doctors and vets are involved !

I really think nowadays too much fuss is made and children too cosetted,they don't have chance to build up immunity to illnesses.

My late mam used to say 'A peck of dirt hurts nobody'and she was right.


Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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