Source: The South African (Extract)
Posted: July 21, 2023

Most of the time, you can’t catch diseases from your cat.

Some diseases can be transmitted between humans and cats and are known as zoonotic diseases.

If you or your cat have a zoonotic disease, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent its spread between you and your pet.


Rabies is a preventable viral disease. It can be transmitted through bites or bodily fluids of infected animals.

Cats should be vaccinated against rabies to reduce the risk of transmission to humans.

Infected cats may become agitated and aggressive, increasing the chance of spreading the disease through bites.

Rabies affects the nervous system and causes behavioural changes.

Humans infected with rabies may develop a fear of water, leading to dehydration.

Proper vaccination and avoiding contact with potentially infected animals are essential preventive measures.


Both cats and humans can get tapeworms.

Transmission occurs after touching infected cat feces and then touching the mouth or face.

Tapeworms have various species but share similarities.

Getting tapeworms from cats is extremely rare but possible.

Keeping your cat’s deworming schedule up to date is essential to minimise the risk of transmission.


Salmonellosis is one of the most common infections you can catch from your cat. It is caused by the bacterium salmonella.

Cats on raw food diets are more susceptible to salmonella infection.

Humans usually contract it through contaminated food, making it a foodborne illness.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

Recovery is often possible without medication after a few days.

To avoid transmission, cook your cat’s food, wear gloves when scooping the litter box, and wash your hands immediately after.

Always wash your hands before eating or preparing food.


Ringworm is a fungus, not a parasite, that feeds on the skin’s keratin.

You can easily catch it from your cat by touching the infected area.

Cats may have hair loss and circular red lesions as signs of ringworm.

Long-haired cats may not show visible signs of hair loss, making it harder to tell which parts are infected.

It is relatively common for humans to contract ringworm from affected cats.


Toxoplasmosis is a well-known disease that can be transmitted from cats to humans.

In most adults and children, it is harmless, but it can cause birth defects in fetuses.

Pregnant individuals are advised not to handle cat litter to avoid potential infection.

Most people likely have or have had toxoplasmosis, often without showing symptoms.

The parasite is associated with brain changes in rats and may impact risk-taking behaviours in humans.

People with weakened immune systems and children may be more at risk of severe illness and should take extra precautions.

Vaccinations, such as for rabies, can help reduce the risk of transmission from cats to humans.

Proper hygiene, especially when handling the litter box, is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases transmitted through feces.