Why Can’t Pregnant Women Clean Litter Boxes?
If you are a female cat owner and are trying to conceive, the elderly or your friends that have been there are likely to persuade you to give your cat away.
This is because you might get infected during your pregnancy when keeping your cat. However, it's pretty tough to give up the relationship between you and your adorable cat.
There is no prohibition against keeping a cat during pregnancy. You should be very careful about your interaction with cats, especially when it comes to cleaning the litter box.
Some are skeptical about it. Here is some expert advice gathered by Lionpapa.
Is it safe to be around cats when pregnant?
The answer can be yes.
The potential risk of keeping cats for expectant mothers is toxoplasmosis. The mother should take precautions to protect themselves as well as the baby.
What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by an apicomplexan: Toxoplasma gondii.
Toxoplasmosis spreads through poorly cooked meat, contaminated water, cat feces, and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Eating undercooked meat, and exposure to infected cat excrement, these two ways can put you at risk of toxoplasmosis infection. Rarely, blood transfusions can spread toxoplasmosis.
In reality, pregnant women can transmit toxoplasmosis to the newborn during pregnancy.
When adults are infected with toxoplasmosis, there are generally no symptoms. Sometimes, flu-like symptoms can last several weeks or even a few months. But it may cause serious symptoms if the neonates are infected.
Thus, pregnant women are advised not to clean the litter box to avoid exposing themselves to the source of toxoplasmosis.
What happens if pregnant women are exposed to toxoplasmosis?
It is said that about 200000 newborns are born with toxoplasmosis, which spreads from mother to newborn.
If you are infected during or just before pregnancy, you will be likely to transmit toxoplasmosis to your newborn while no symptoms occur.
Most infected babies do not have early signs. But over time, your new baby may experience headaches, confusion, poor coordination, even seizures, lung issues and blindness.
To ensure that your baby is born healthy, you should not clean the litter boxes after you start thinking about becoming pregnant.
The best ways to protect yourself and your baby against toxoplasmosis
People who live with cats or often contact with cats, especially pregnant women, should try their best to reduce the risk of infection with toxoplasmosis.
For the litter boxes
- Have someone else clean the litter box. Cleaning the litter box will expose you directly to potential contaminants.
- If you have to clean it, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap or hand sanitizer and warm water.
- Scoop cat litter at least once a day and change cat litter every week. Toxoplasma is not infectious the first day after it is released into the litter box. After 1 to 5 days, the feces will be dangerous for you.
- Store the soiled cat litter in Litter Genie and Lionpapa’s generic litter genie refills instead of the regular trash can to help you seal the smell and reduce the risk of infection.
For your cat
- Never feed your cat raw or poorly cooked meats.
- Do not adopt stray cats, as they may already have Toxoplasma. And don't bring a new cat into the house while you're pregnant.
- Keep your cat indoors to keep it from getting infected.
Besides, if you have to contact soil or sand, wear gloves. They may contain cat feces.