Health Risks: Diseases You Can Get from Cats

diseases you can get from cats

Cats are loved in many homes across the United States. But it’s vital to know they can carry cat-borne illnesses. These diseases from cats can spread to humans. They are a big risk, especially for people with weak immune systems. This includes people getting chemotherapy, those with HIV/AIDS, babies, and old people. Knowing about these risks can help us take steps to keep everyone safe.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cats can transmit zoonotic diseases to humans, posing health risks.
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable.
  • The elderly and infants also face increased susceptibility to cat-borne illnesses.
  • Recognizing the risks helps in taking proactive health and safety measures.
  • Proper hygiene and veterinary care play crucial roles in reducing these risks.

Overview of Zoonotic Diseases from Cats

Cats are often our cuddly friends, but they can carry diseases. These diseases can spread from cats to people. It’s important to stay clean and take your cat to the vet to lower risks.

What Are Zoonotic Diseases?

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that pass from animals to humans. Cats can carry germs that cause these diseases. Knowing about them helps us protect our health and our pets’ health.

Who Is at Risk?

Most people have a low risk of getting sick from cats. But, some folks are more at risk. This includes people with weak immune systems, those very young or old, and people getting certain treatments. Visiting the vet often and staying clean are key steps to stay safe.

Bacterial Infections from Cats

Cats can carry bacteria that makes people sick. Knowing the risks helps us keep things safe through clean habits.

Cat Scratch Disease (CSD)

Cat scratch disease (CSD) comes from Bartonella henselae bacteria. It often spreads through a cat’s scratch or bite. People who get CSD usually feel like they have the flu. They have fever, feel very tired, and have swollen glands. Some people might need medicine to get better.

Pasteurella Multocida

Pasteurella multocida is another germ from cats that can make you sick. It lives in their mouths. If a cat bites or scratches you, you might get infected. The wound can hurt, turn red, and swell. If you don’t treat it, it can get worse.

Clean any wounds from cats right away. See a doctor if it looks infected.

Salmonella Poisoning

Cats can also spread Salmonella. This germ is not just in bad food. It can come from touching cats or their poop. If you get it, you might have stomach pain, fever, and diarrhea.

Wash your hands well after touching cats or their litter. This helps keep you safe.

Parasitic Infections Transmitted by Cats

Cats can accidentally spread different parasite infections to people. It’s important to know about these to keep everyone safe.

cat-transmitted parasitic infections


Fleas from cats cause various illnesses, like Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) and worms. Their bites make red itchy spots. This is worse for people with allergies.


Scabies, from the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, also comes from cats. It’s called cat scabies. It makes your skin very itchy, needing a doctor’s help.

Intestinal Parasites

Cats might spread parasites like roundworms and hookworms to humans. These can seriously harm your health. The worms’ larvae move through your body’s tissues.

Parasitic Infection Source Possible Human Impact
Fleas Cats Itchy bites, Cat Scratch Disease, Tapeworm infection
Scabies Cats Intensely itchy skin lesions
Intestinal Parasites Cats Visceral or cutaneous larva migrans

Deworming pets and cleaning your home can prevent cat-transmitted parasitic infections. Regular vet visits are key to lower these disease risks.

Fungal Infections Linked to Cats

Fungal infections in cats are a worry for their owners. They aim to stop these infections from spreading to people. Feline fungal infections like ringworm are common.


Ringworm looks like round, itchy spots on the skin and spreads easily. It goes from cats to people through touch or shared items like toys. Kids are more vulnerable because they play closely with pets.

Stopping feline fungal infections involves cleaning and disinfecting areas well. Also, sick cats should be kept away to avoid spreading the fungus.

Prevention Strategy Effectiveness
Thorough Cleaning High
Confining Infected Cats Moderate
Regular Veterinary Check-ups High
Using Antifungal Treatments High

Protozoal Infections Associated with Cats

Cats can share various protozoal infections with humans. These include cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, and toxoplasmosis. They can cause serious health problems, especially for certain groups.


Cryptosporidiosis comes from a parasite named Cryptosporidium. It leads to upset stomachs, diarrhea, cramps, and feeling sick. It’s harder on people with weak immune systems, like old people and young kids.


Giardiasis connects to cats through the Giardia parasite. It causes stomach pains, diarrhea, and gas. It’s important to treat it quickly to avoid bigger health problems.


Toxoplasmosis is from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. It’s very risky for pregnant folks and those with weak immune systems. Symptoms can be flu-like or even more serious, like brain damage in unborn babies. Staying away from cat poop and cooking meat well can lower this risk.

Serious Health Risks from Cat Scratches and Bites

Cats are loved as pets. But, they come with health risks we need to know about. This is true for cat scratches and bites. These injuries can cause serious infections. It’s key to watch them closely and get medical help.

infections from cat scratches

Cat bites have a high chance of getting infected. About half of cat bites will infect you. These infections might need antibiotics or surgery. The germ Pasteurella multocida from cats’ mouths can make deep bites very bad. It can cause abscesses or, if really bad, septicemia.

Cat scratch disease (CSD) is another big worry. It comes from Bartonella henselae, a germ in scratches. People can feel a little sick or very sick from it. This is more true if their immune system is weak.

Rabies from cats is rare but serious. If not treated right away, rabies can kill. The CDC says animal bites cost the US $30 million a year in health care.

Knowing these risks and getting quick help for bites or scratches can stop small injuries from getting worse.

Understanding Cat-Borne Illnesses List

Pet owners must know the illnesses cats can carry. It’s vital to understand these diseases to keep safe. Recognizing them is the first step in preventing them.

Common Cat-Transmitted Diseases

There are many diseases people can get from cats. These include bacterial, viral, parasitic, fungal, and protozoal infections. Cat scratch disease, ringworm, and toxoplasmosis are some of the main ones.

These infections can be very harmful. They are especially dangerous for babies, older people, and those with weak immune systems.

Preventive Measures

To prevent diseases from cats, you need a plan. Regular vet visits help find and treat infections early. Being careful with cats and staying clean cuts down the risk.

Knowing about cat diseases and how to prevent them is important. This way, you can keep enjoying your cat’s company without risking your health.

Prevention Tips for Cat Owners

Keeping your cat healthy is key to prevent diseases that can spread to humans. Here are some useful tips:

Maintaining Cat Health

Regular vet check-ups are crucial for maintaining cat health. Vaccinations and treatments stop many diseases. Tackling worms and fleas also helps protect your family.

Feeding your pet high-quality food boosts their immune system. This makes them less likely to get sick. Regular grooming, like brushing and nail trimming, also helps spot health problems early.

Safe Handling Practices

Using safe cat handling steps lowers the chance of getting sick from your cat. Always wash your hands after touching your cat or their litter box. Wearing gloves adds another level of safety.

Avoid playing rough to prevent bites or scratches. Teach kids how to treat cats gently. Having a special area for your cat reduces stress and makes a safer home for everyone.

Following these prevention tips for cat owners makes life better with your cat. It keeps your pet and your family safe from diseases.

Diseases You Can Get from Cats

It’s very important to know the diseases cats can give to people. This keeps both humans and cats healthy. Cats carry diseases from bacteria and protozoa. Knowing these risks means you can keep everyone safe.

Cats can spread several well-known bacterial diseases. For instance, Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) comes from the Bartonella henselae bacterium. It causes fever, fatigue, and big lymph nodes. Also, the bacteria Pasteurella multocida in cat saliva can cause infections through bites.

Parasitic infections also come from cats. Fleas on cats can make people allergic and cause more infections. Toxoplasmosis is another risk, especially for pregnant women or those with weak immune systems.

Keeping clean and visiting the vet regularly helps stop diseases from cats. Washing hands after touching cats is good. So is keeping litter boxes clean and getting cats the right medical care.

Knowing about the infections cats carry is also key. This knowledge helps pet owners keep an eye on health. Learning about these infections helps people and cats live better together.


It’s very important for cat owners to know about the health risks from cats. Learning about diseases from cats helps lower the risk of getting sick. This knowledge helps protect both pets and their human families.

Good pet care means regular vet check-ups and the right vaccines. It also means washing hands after touching cats or litter boxes. Keeping the cat’s space clean makes living together safer.

Understanding these risks and how to prevent them can make the human-cat bond stronger. By taking key steps, we can safely enjoy our cat’s company. This makes our homes safer and healthier for everyone.


What are zoonotic diseases?

Zoonotic diseases come from animals to humans. Older adults and kids can get them from cats.

Who is at risk of contracting diseases from cats?

People with weak immune systems are at high risk. This includes those with HIV/AIDS and cancer patients. Babies and older people are also more likely to get sick from cats.

What is Cat Scratch Disease (CSD)?

Caused by Bartonella henselae, CSD is a common infection. It can cause flu-like symptoms. Sometimes, you might need antibiotics.

What is Pasteurella multocida and how is it transmitted?

Pasteurella multocida is found in cats’ mouths. It causes infections if a cat bites you. These infections might need a doctor’s help.

Can cats transmit Salmonella to humans?

Yes, cats can spread Salmonella, leading to stomach issues. Keeping wounds clean and not playing rough with cats helps lower this risk.

What parasitic infections can be transmitted by cats?

Cats can pass on fleas, scabies, and worms. Deworming cats and cleaning regularly prevent these issues.

What is ringworm and how can it be transmitted from cats to humans?

Ringworm is a fungal skin infection. It’s itchy and shaped like a ring. It spreads easily, especially among kids. Keeping things clean and isolating sick cats helps.

What are the protozoal infections associated with cats?

Protozoal infections from cats can affect the stomach. Pregnant people and those with weak immune systems need to be careful.

What are the serious health risks from cat scratches and bites?

Cat scratches and bites can cause major health issues. Bites often get infected. It’s essential to treat them quickly to prevent diseases like rabies.

What are common diseases transmitted by cats?

Cats can transmit diseases like CSD, Pasteurella, ringworm, and toxoplasmosis. It’s crucial to know these to stay healthy.

What preventive measures can cat owners take?

To prevent diseases, take your cat to the vet regularly. Wash your hands after touching cats. Using gloves when dealing with litter and avoiding rough play are also good ideas.

How can cat owners maintain the health of their pets?

Keep your cat healthy with vet visits and shots on time. Giving them the right food, deworming, and flea control are key.

What are safe handling practices for cat owners?

Always wash your hands after playing with cats or cleaning their spaces. Wear gloves for the litter box. Cover any cuts to avoid infections from scratches or bites.

How can understanding cat-borne illnesses help cat owners?

Knowing about cat illnesses helps keep you and your cat healthy. It ensures a happy life together by preventing infections.

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