Have you ever heard that pregnant women and cats aren't a good fit? Well, we have some news for you: That's not true!
There are many scientific "facts" that end up turning to be myths, some more popular than others. For instance, our grandmother's always heard that it was bad to shower while you were on your period, and maybe some of us have heard it too. Weird myths like that are debunked little by little, as scientific evidence proves them wrong. Many others need just a little bit of common sense, as they're based on popular beliefs and superstitions.
However, there are some "myths" that are based on a truth, that is subsequently modified or exaggerated. Those are harder to debunk, precisely because of that little, deformed truth that lies beneath them. One of these myths involves pregnant women and cats. Have you ever heard that you need to avoid cats when you're expecting? You're not alone, but there is some information you need to know about it, because that is certainly not true. Pregnant women and cats can coexist perfectly, as we'll explain in the following article.
Pregnant women and cats: The truth beneath the myth
We all know how much people like to tell pregnant women what to do. If you're expecting, or if you have been expecting before, and have a cat, we're sure that more than one person told you that you needed to get rid of it. Well, don't! A pregnant woman can live with a cat without it even being a risk. She can feed it, she can pet it, she can do everything she did before conceiving.
So why have we always heard it? Well, the thing is that cat faeces can carry toxoplasmosis, which is a parasitic infection that can be very dangerous while pregnant, as it can cause birth defects in the baby such as brain damage. It can happen even if the future mother catches toxoplasmosis months before being pregnant.
However, this doesn't mean that you're going to get toxoplasmosis if you have a cat. First of all, your cat doesn't even need to be carrying the parasite. This parasite is found inside raw meat (which is why you also need to pay attention not to eat raw or cured meats during pregnancy), so if you have a housecat it's very unlikely that he'll have it. Second, maybe you already had it, especially if you've been around cats a lot. Keep in mind that most times the symptoms of toxoplasmosis don't show, and that you can only have the disease once, and you're immune after that. You will know if you're immune to it in one of your pregnancy blood tests. If you are, you can forget about these precautions!
Finally, let's think of the worst case scenario: You're not immune to toxoplasmosis and, besides, your cat has access to the outdoors, which means that it can end up eating some bird or small rodent that could give it the toxoplasmosis parasite. In this case, you just need to be away from the litter box, as the parasite can only be found in the cat's faeces. If you live alone with your cat, you can just use gloves to clean it - as easy as that!
This is all the truth there's to the problem about pregnant women and cats. All the rest is part of the myth, so now you know what to say to all those people who recommend you to get rid of your furry companion.
Pregnant women and cats: How to reduce the risks
Now that you know that you, your future baby and your cat can coexist in peace and love, don't forget to take the necessary precautions to avoid the contagion, in case your furry baby is carrying the toxoplasmosis parasite. Remember that if you're immune to toxoplasmosis, you don't even need to be this careful!
- First of all, avoid the litter box if possible (which, let's be honest, can be considered a nice pregnancy perk). If you leave with the baby's other parent or with someone else, have them do it instead of you.
- If you do need to clean the litter box, do it every day. The parasite becomes infectious from one to five days after being outside your cat's body.
- Use gloves to clean the litter box and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- If you like gardening, use gloves and wash your hands after too, since your cat could have left a smelly present for you among your plants and flowers.
- Finally, don't forget to take the other precautions to avoid the risk of toxoplasmosis, like cooking your meat well. Remember that the parasite is originally found in raw meat.
Pregnant women and cats: The perks
There's a lot of panic about toxoplasmosis, pregnant women and cats, but, besides knowing that there's not a reason for such panic, how about we end this article on a positive note? Having a cat means having your pet's love, and that is incredibly positive for you, whether you're pregnant or not. Besides, having a pet is also good for stress, one of your main enemies while pregnant. It has been scientifically proven that your cat's purrs have a soothing effect.
It's important to debunk the myth that is the danger of the pregnant women and cats combo. Having a pet is a responsibility many people are not ready for, and it's truly horrible to see the amount of animals that are abandoned every year ¾you just need to go to a shelter to see that we need to do all that's in our hands to avoid it happening as much as possible. Our pets establish a real bond with us, and an abandonment will be really traumatic for them, even if they end up finding another family who cares for them ¾which doesn't always happen. Out of ignorance, some women decide to get rid of their cats when they're pregnant because they are misinformed about it. Of course, there will be many who will find another home for their cat, but it's still going to be painful both for her and the animal. Isn't it sad that it happens due to something that's not true?