15 Diseases Humans Can Get From Cats

Cats are relatively low maintenance pets. They don’t require near the attention and effort dogs require, and they’re pretty self-sufficient, which makes them a favored pet in many households. Cats require regular feeding and watering, litter box changes and love. However, they’ll dictate when and where they want your attention, and sometimes it’s not that often.

You don’t have to walk them or worry they’ll chew on your shoes or use the bathroom in the corner, but you do need to worry that they’ll pass on disease and infection. Read on to find out which diseases humans can get from cats.

1. Cat Scratch Disease

This particular disease is one cats are known to pass on to humans. If your cat is infected with the bacteria that cause this disease and he or she scratches or bites you, the disease can pass along to you. The first symptoms are inflamed lymph nodes.

This is often accompanied by pain, fever and severe headaches. While it often goes away on its own, it can take months to do so without medical intervention. Additionally, those who suffer from immune disorders will likely not recover from this particular disease without a doctor’s help.

2. Salmonellosis

It’s a bacterial infection that’s cased when cats transmit it through their feces. This happens when a human might pick up cat feces with their hand or accidentally touch it when exchanging old litter for new.

The contamination for cats is found in raw meat, animals that carry the bacteria, and that’s it. If a cat passes it onto a human, the result is very similar to salmonella. You will become very sick, not feel well for days and potentially end up hospitalized looking for a diagnosis and cure for your ailments. Be very careful when cleaning litter.

3. Tapeworms

When it comes to cats and tapeworms, it’s especially important to be very careful around children. Children are more susceptible to tapeworm than adults, which means that you might end up taking your kids to the hospital to find out what’s ailing them.

Cats can transmit this disease to kids – and adults as well – by the ingestion of a flea that’s got tapeworms. This seems disgusting and unlikely – after all, your kid wouldn’t eat a flea. However, cats can deposit fleas anywhere, which means they can get into your kids’ cereal, onto a blanket on which they are chewing or a toy that goes into their mouths.

4. Roundworms

It’s pretty easy to contract roundworms from cats if you have cats that live outside all the time of part of the time. When a cat uses the bathroom in the yard, he or she covers it up with dirt or soil.

When a cat has roundworms, the ground in which his or her feces is found will be infected with the roundworms. This means that your kids can catch the disease playing in the yard. You, too, can contract the disease doing something like gardening or cleaning the yard.

5. Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be derived from many places, including your cat. When a cat is diagnosed with ringworm, he or she can pass it along to anyone in your family with relative ease.

One way in which ringworm is passed is through feces. It’s something you can get cleaning out the litter box or picking up a minor accident on the floor. It’s an itchy lesion that will go away with over-the-counter cream and medication, but it will come back repeatedly unless you have it treated by a doctor to kill it from the inside out.

6. Giardiasis

If you touch water that’s contaminated by a cat with this type of infection, it’s going to get to you. This might mean drinking water from a glass your cat saw sitting on the night stand and decided to drink from when you were not looking.

It can also be contracted by touching your cat’s water dish to clean it. It’s an infection that’s going to cause diarrhea and upset stomach. It’s certainly not the worst thing you can catch from your cat, but it’s one of the least convenient. Fortunately, it doesn’t last long.

7. Toxoplasmosis

You’ve heard of this because it’s very dangerous for certain people. If a pregnant woman comes into contact with a cat’s contaminated water, this infection will get into her system and cause her baby undue harm.

This is the reason women are not allowed to change or go near litter or cat food and water dishes while they are pregnant. It can also be breathed in from infected litter by a pregnant woman.

Otherwise, it will only cause a bit of unsightly and no-fun diarrhea. The infection will go away before too long, but it’s inconvenient and disgusting while it lasts.

8. Rabies

If a cat is infected with rabies and bites a human, a human will then become infected with the disease. This is one very serious disease. If you suspect your cat might suffer from rabies, it’s imperative you have that cat taken to the vet immediately – in a carrier and only hold the cat with gloves.

Do not let that cat stay in your home or around your home. Rabies kills humans. There are five human stages, and most of the time it’s too late to save the lives of people who are infected with the virus. Do not take this lightly.

9. Lyme Disease

Outdoor cats are far more susceptible to this type of disease. It’s transmitted from infected ticks to cats and humans. A human can get lyme disease from an infected cat or an infected tick a cat brings into the house. you’ll known you have lyme disease when you have a rash that appears in the shape of a bulls eye.

This will become accompanied by changes to your body such as frequent headaches, fever and muscle pain. If left untreated, it can cause serious mental changes that will forever affect your life in a negative light.

10. Leptospirosis

This is transmitted from cats to humans with infected urine. Whether you step in urine your cat leaked onto the floor or you step in it outside or accidentally touch it when cleaning the litter box, it’s dangerous.

Cats don’t show symptoms of this disease. This means it’s particular dangerous because you can contract it from their infected urine without even knowing there is anything wrong with the cat.

This is a dangerous infection because it causes meningitis and it causes kidney damage and live failure. It’s also known to cause respiratory issues and some other side effects that are potentially deadly.

11. Hookworms

It’s not entirely likely that a full grown cat will develop hookworms or pass them along to a human, but it’s more likely that a kitten will do this. These worms are annoying and very dangerous.

They are found in the feces of an infected cat and can be passed along by an encounter that’s so minor you don’t even notice it. Some of the effects of hookworms in humans include intestinal bleeding, severe itching and inflammation. You’ll notice the disease because abdominal pain will begin, and it will essentially turn into something that will require hospitalization and medical attention.

12. Scabies

While it’s something found more often in dogs, scabies is not a disease that’s immune to cats. It’s caused by mites that grow beneath the skin. They can be passed along from cat to human in many different ways, even but just bringing them into the house.

These mites burrow beneath the skin and cause humans to itch like crazy. They cause scabs, ugly rashes and intense pain. It’s difficult to get rid of scabies and they are likely to occur over and over again if they are not treated and killed effectively the first time around.


13. Plague

Believe it or not, people are still getting the plague. It’s very, very rare, fortunately, but it does happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 10 people are plagued with the plague each year in the United States, and the vast majority of those who are infected are infected through animals.

Rats are the biggest carriers, but cats can pass the plague onto their humans via their fleas. If a flea contracts the plague from a rat, it can pass it along to its cat or the flea can attach to the cat and enter your home, spreading the disease to you.


14. Q Fever

Q Fever is something that typically only affects farm animals such as sheep and cattle, but it does affect house pets as well. The infection can get into the bloodstream of a cat and end up infecting a person if it goes unnoticed.

The way that a cat can pass Q Fever onto humans is through inhalation. If a human is plagued with Q Fever, they will pass it along to their humans through their feces and the particles that are released from said feces and into the air. It’s rare, but it does occur.


15. Campylobacteriosis

Cats can attract this disease by eating raw or undercooked meats. It shouldn’t be a problem in your household, since cats shouldn’t be eating your dinner in the first place – especially before it’s been cooked.

However, some cats are known to contract this illness by sneaking up onto the counter when you’re cooking or by licking meat packaging that’s been thrown in the trash. It can be given to people through contact with the cat, and it can cause serious illness. Most people do recover on their own, but some will require medical attention to recover from this.

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