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Staying with friends who have cats

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am spending the weekend with friends and they have two adorable cats and the cat litter is sort of strewn about the house, as seems to happen with cats and hardwood floors. And I am flipping about whether this will endanger the baby. I banned the cats from the room I'm sleeping in, but it sort of smells like cat litter everywhere (not like poop, like the powder that come in litter) and I'm getting a little freaky. They jump up on the chairs and sofas and the table, even though they're not supposed to be on the table... I just googled for some information on this and what I read said it's generally not a problem for CAT OWNERS because they have built up immunity to toxoplasmosis. But I'm not a cat owner! We had cats growing up, though, maybe I was exposed then? Would I know if something bad was going on, like would I feel sick if I got the parasite? They are indoor cats, so supposedly that's good. They're really cute and my friends are so nice, I don't want to say anything (and what would I say?! Your cats scare me, I'm sleeping in the car?)

[pause for hyperventilating]

I'm usually pretty chill about this kind of thing but this is really freaking me out. Help! I'm washing my hands like a maniac. Any other ideas?
post #2 of 14
I'm queen of 'don't worry about it' aren't I? I'd not worry about it! LOL, don't play with the poop and wash your hands before you eat and you should be fine, from what I figure. I don't really know, but I'm kinda doubting that the toxiplamas (sp) germs are flying through the air in a quantity big enough to harm you or the baby

We're looking to get a kitten this spring, and I"m just planning on washing my hands after playing with it, and washing after emptying the litter box. It is kinda icky, though, cat litter scattered all around. I'm putting out litter box in a closet so it doesn't do that.

If you are worried about it, though, then maybe just don't go. It's not worth anything to be anxious. Stress isn't good for baby either
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by myhoneyswife
If you are worried about it, though, then maybe just don't go.
Too late, I'm here -- got in last night! Thanks for the reassurance. I'm trying to be calm..... try try try try try try try
post #4 of 14
My best friend has two cats. Her son is very healthy and over a year old. I think what she told me about cat litter, is just that she wasn't allowed to clean or change the cat box. Even though she always did it before she got pregnant, her hubby took over that job while she was pregnant. I'd say, just make sure you're washing your hands after touching the cat, and stay away from cleaning or changing the cat box, and you'll be fine.

Have fun and don't stress. Enjoy the company of your friends
post #5 of 14
I have two cats and here is my understanding. The risk comes into play when you're actually changing/handling the used cat litter, so that's dh's job for now. Our box is in a closet, so we don't have the problem of it being strewn everywhere. I think I would just wear something on my feet (socks, slippers, shoes) to avoid direct skin contact and just wash my hands a lot. I hope that makes you feel a little better!
post #6 of 14
If you've ever had cats before, or gardened, you're immune. I guarantee it.

You actually have to ingest fecal matter to get it. Just wash your hands after you handle any kitty litter or kitty bums.
post #7 of 14
It is really hard to get toxoplasmosis from a cat. They only shed the infective particle when they're first infected, or if they're severely immunosuppressed later in life. If you're friends cats are indoors they wouldn't have any way to become newly infected (unless they're ingesting rodents inside the house, in which case you've got bigger things to worry about!).
I grew up with barn cats and now work with sick cats for a living, and still test negative for toxoplasmosis antibodies. The most common way women in the U.S. are infected is actually through eating undercooked meat. So don't worry.
The Humane Society has some good articles about this: http://www.hsus.org/

Erin, still trying to figure out the icons, due 9/10/06.
post #8 of 14
I am pregnant and have 2 cats living with me. As long as you don't change the litter then you are safe (so my doctor says). There are only toxins in the litter itself. It's perfectly safe to have the cats near you, as mine sometimes sleep on the end of my bed.
On another note, animals can tell when you're pregnant and I think it's cute that my kittens sit up on my stomach as if they are protecting it
post #9 of 14
My cats spend lots of time hanging out on my stomach when I'm pregnant. I suddenly have more surface area to accomodate their bulk.
See, I have huge, huge, huge cats. Huge. (See picture)The bigger I am, the happier they get.
post #10 of 14
Holy cow! Those are big cats Babs! I love big cats like that
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmama2
Holy cow! Those are big cats Babs! I love big cats like that
Once you've had big cat you don't go back!
post #12 of 14
Sorry for the barge, I just wanted to throw in another voice of comfort. If the cats are indoor only, they have even less a chance of carrying anything.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all. I'm back home -- I washed my hands MANY times a day, didn't put any toiletries or food on any surface where the cats' butts/litter had been (and that was most surfaces), kept them out of the room where I was sleeping... and I feel calm and okay about it now. They're indoor cats, too, which is good (parasite infection unlikely), and I did have cats in the past where I changed the litter (several years ago), so that's good (prior exposure likely).

THANK YOU for the reassurance.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
It is really hard to get toxoplasmosis from a cat. They only shed the infective particle when they're first infected, or if they're severely immunosuppressed later in life.
Very true. Only about 1% of cats shed at any given time....

Just another bit of info...it takes over 24 hours (sometimes up to 5 days) for the "eggs" in the feces to become infective....so even if the cat is actively shedding toxo, it still takes time to be able to infect you...pregnant women *can* change litter boxes, but only if they do it every 24 hours and practice good hygiene (i.e. don't eat poop)....though it's a really good excuse to make someone else do it!
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