Information On Cat Litter Box And Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy calls for lots of precautions. Even the most normal thing can be a dreadful thing for you. This is why you need to take extra cautions when you are with a baby. One such thing that seems harmless but is actually a potent threat is the cat litter box that lies quietly in a corner, appearing to be harmless.
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Here is how they are related and what you can do about it.
What doctors say
You must have seen that doctors advise you to stay away from smoking and drinking during your pregnancy. Similar restrictions apply for litter boxes as well. This arises questions in the minds of many. How can a litter box possibly affect the unborn baby? Well, the issue is not with the litter box to be precise. It is with the waste materials present in it. And yes, no matter how much you love your cat, you need to stay away from it.
The cat litter is known to cause toxoplasmosis. This is a disease in which you get flu like symptoms. These in turn affect the health of your unborn child. This is why you are advised to stay away from cat litter as much as possible.
However, there is a good news
Yes, there is a good news to this. If you have owned a cat long before pregnancy, and have been taking care of it since quite some time, you would have contracted this condition already. The good news is that our body develops required anti bodies for that. Thus, if you have been exposed to it, your body must have developed immunity by now. However, you should not give up on the cautions.
How exactly does it affect you in your pregnancy?
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There is a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Your cat can get affected by it. It is under those circumstances that the serious condition which leads to blood infection is caused. The disease goes by the name toxoplasmosis.
Now, if you are pregnant and you are infected by this parasite, it can get transmitted via your placenta to your child. This can cause birth defects in your unborn baby.
A question that still remains unanswered is that how one gets exposed to the parasite. Well, there are eggs of the parasite called oocysts that breed in the cat feces. Now, how do the eggs get into the cat feces? Well, it can happen in numerous ways. If your cat, by any chance, is getting uncooked food, or partially cooked meat, or infected milk, then there are fair chances that your cat will develop this condition. Once the parasite is inside your cat, it just takes a while to multiply.
This parasite lives inside warm blooded hosts like mice and rats. So if your cat is feasting on them, then also she can get this parasite inside her. Thus, though it is possible that your cat is healthy, there is no need to take the risk.
How to find out if you are infected ?
In terms of symptoms, most women do not experience anything. However, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60 million people in the United States alone are affected by this parasite. However, the good part is, they have successfully developed immunity towards it as well. Also, about 15% of the women in the childbearing age are immune to it, says the same study. However, there can be symptoms, which are very rare. There can be swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, fever and fatigue.
What effects can it have on the baby?
Your baby can have learning, hearing and visual disabilities. The parasite can also lead to premature birth.
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What precautions you need to take?
The easiest way out seems to stay away from your cat. However, there is a better way than that. Do not clean the litter in any case. Let someone else do that for you. You should not be touching the soil or feces under any situation when you are pregnant. Also, keep a check on what your cat is eating. Stay away from raw and infected foods. Check out this video for more information: https://youtu.be/14yMI7VM448
Photo credit: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/conditions/infections/a5554/toxoplasmosis/
So this was all about how you should stay when you are pregnant, around a cat. It is better to take the precautions than to get exposed and suffer from diseases. Keep yourself and your baby safe from unwanted problems. Lastly, take care of your cat as well so that all of you stay safe.