I'm pregnant and have always been a cat lover. But I've heard that cats can cause problems for a fetus. Is it safe to have a cat during pregnancy, or do I have to get rid of my beloved pet?
You can keep, and continue to cuddle with, your friendly feline — just don't change your cat's litter box. An infection called toxoplasmosis can be spread through soiled litter boxes and can cause serious problems in a fetus, including miscarriage, seizures, and severe eye and brain damage. A pregnant woman who becomes infected often has no symptoms but can still pass the infection on to her developing baby.
But avoiding the infection is pretty easy — just have someone else change the litter box daily, making sure to clean it thoroughly and then washing his or her hands well afterward. What better reason than pregnancy to get out of an often-unpleasant job! It also can help to keep your cat indoors and to not feed it any raw or undercooked foods.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|Maternal and Child Health Bureau This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs Questions regarding what you can and can't do during pregnancy abound. Knowing what could truly be harmful to your baby versus what's no real cause for concern is key to keeping your sanity throughout the 40 weeks.|
|Infections That Pets Carry Kids can benefit from the companionship, affection, and relationships they share with pets. But it's important to know how to protect your family from infections carried by pets and other animals.|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|A Week-by-Week Pregnancy Calendar Pregnancy is an exciting time. Our week-by-week illustrated pregnancy calendar is a detailed guide to all the changes taking place in your baby - and in you!|
|Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis is an infection that passes from animals to humans, sometimes without causing any symptoms. Learn more about this infection in this article for parents.|
|Why Is Hand Washing So Important? Did you know that proper hand washing is the best way to keep from getting sick? Here's how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.|
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