Growing up with a cat can be a wonderful experience for a child. These independent and charming animals are as affectionate as they are clever, and they can teach kids a lot about interacting with and caring for the furry friends all around us. However, they may also carry quite a few diseases. Here are the four most common ones, as well as advice on how to treat and prevent them.
4 Diseases Cats Carry
Also known as dermatophytosis, ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin caused by spores that can be transmitted by cats. Children are especially sensitive to this disease, so it is important to teach your little one caution when handling their favorite animal. When the fungus spreads, it causes rashes on several areas of the body.
Fortunately, the eruption can be easily treated with antifungal creams, but it is important to treat the pet that caused it as well. Take your furry friend to the veterinarian’s office so that the problem can be dealt with properly. Administer the treatments in parallel so that your two little ones stay happy, healthy, and fungus-free.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a single-cell parasite that is spread by cat feces, among other factors. Because the organism thrives and multiplies in the intestinal lining of our adorable feline buddies, something as mundane as cleaning a litter box may put your child at risk.
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to toxoplasmosis, and they may pass the infection along to their unborn child. This is another way in which your son or daughter can contract the disease. There is no vaccine against it, and the treatment is prescribed only for those with weak immune systems. Therefore, prevention is the best medicine in this case.
Giardia infection is a common occurrence among children, and cats are known carriers of these protozoa. The most common symptoms of this intestinal infection include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea. Symptoms tend to disappear on their own if the young one has a strong immune system. Still, a doctor’s appointment will be necessary.
This is an opportunity to teach your child about hygiene when playing with cats. Always insist on the importance of washing their hands after touching animals, regardless of whether they are your own or stray ones. Your house kitty might be clean, but you never know what it gets itself into, especially if you let it wander around outdoors as well.
Rabies is caused by a deadly virus that affects the brain and spinal cord, causing irritation, inflammation, vomiting, spasms, and other dangerous symptoms. Wild animals such as bats, foxes, skunks, raccoons, and coyotes are known carriers, but your kitty might be one as well.
If your cat usually goes outside, it may come across one of those rabid animals and get bitten. The infection is then passed along through its saliva, and any member of your family can be affected. Being bitten or scratched by a cat with rabies is especially dangerous for children, as they are frailer than adults. So, it is essential to be on the lookout.
The diseases that felines are prone to are not a reason to avoid adopting a cute and lovable companion for your child. As long as you teach your son or daughter how to be cautious, and you pay attention to hygiene yourself, the entire family will be perfectly fine. And on top of that, you will have a new family member that will enrich your lives with love and fun.
About the author:
Mike Jones is a Boston-based health writer for Home Remedy Shop, who encourages everyone to embrace the healing power of nature for common and not life-threatening diseases. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_jones35.