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Pregnant cat owners - reassurance please!

(17 Posts)
mrsbumblebees Fri 21-Apr-17 12:03:55

I'm just writing this post in the hope that some of you cat-owning mums to be can talk some sense into me!

DH and I own two adult outdoor rescue cats who we have had for over 5 years.

Since becoming pregnant I have developed pretty bad anxiety over contamination/infection, and a lot of this has focused on Toxoplasmosis. I had a blood test very early on after eating a rare steak before I found out I was pregnant and despite a lifetime of eating rare meat, cured meats and owning outdoor cats, the blood test showed I had no immunity.

My logical brain tells me that if I haven't picked it up already, despite my lack of precautions, then I really shouldn't be so worried about catching it now, especially as I am trying to be very careful with handwashing, cleaning the worktops etc... (we don't have a litter tray as they go outdoors, and I haven't done any gardening since finding out). I have even started keeping the cats out of the bedroom but I still can't seem to stop worrying about picking it up in unlikely ways, e.g. touching furniture the cats have walked on with dirty paws and then eating without washing my hands, or by getting a cat hair in my food - somehow this has happened twice in the last couple of days!! I know it is unlikely they will be carrying anything in their fur, but I can't help worry what if....

I know there must be millions of pregnant ladies who own cats and have had no problems at all, please can you reassure me that I don't need to worry so much? I just want to be able to enjoy my pregnancy (and my cats) without constant fear! Is it just my hormones making me worry unnecessarily?

Thanks in advance!!!

Twinnypops Fri 21-Apr-17 12:21:58

If you're not handling your cats' faeces then the likelihood of contracting toxoplasmosis will be extremely rare, especially given that your cats would need to have toxoplasmosis in the first place. Maybe it's worth talking to your vet about what the symptoms of toxoplasmosis are to reassure yourself?

Personally, I was a bit of a worried wreck during my pregnancy! Stroking and cuddling cats is always a nice stress reliever though :-).

GingerHanna Fri 21-Apr-17 12:23:53

Oh sweetie, you are putting yourself through the mill it seems! I have two cats, with litter trays and who rule the house.

I'm still cleaning the litter trays but am using latex gloves. The house is just as clean, or not, as it was before I got pregnant and they are still curling up with me at night in bed. (More so now as I'm nice and toasty hot for them).

Enjoy the cats... they are great for comfort for us pregnant woman. smile

Rikalaily Fri 21-Apr-17 12:34:13

I've had cats through 4 of my 5 pregnancies (just found out we are expecting no.6) and honestly, as long as you have good hygiene practices I don't think it is anything to be too worried about. I have still changed the cat litter and gardened etc through my pregnancies too. Even when not pregnant I'm careful about cleaning the counter tops etc and wash my hands all the time and wearing gardening gloves anyway. As you don't have litter trays the risk of you contracting it would be extremely low as cats are very careful about not touching their poop with their paws, as long as you wear gloves when gardening and wash your hands well afterwards and after handling the cats you should be fine.

It is normal to worry about things when you are pregnant but try not to let it cause you so much anxiety xx

mrsbumblebees Fri 21-Apr-17 19:45:11

Thank you ladies - I really appreciate your replies and even writing this post and putting it into words has helped a little! I think I've just been having a bad few days anxiety wise and have been giving myself a very hard time about all the extreme precautions I feel I should have been taking, it's great to hear that other pregnant ladies have been getting on just fine living with their cats.

As I understand it, it is rare to catch it from cats anyway (it seems undercooked meat is the main source of transmission), and having both been strays in their previous lives before they came to live with us (one has always been a very prolific hunter), I think the chances are high that our cats have already had it and therefore won't shed the parasites again - I think I am just being paranoid about what they might bring in on their paws from the garden, as I know other cats use our flowerbeds as a toilet too.

I'm normally very laid back when it comes to hygiene issues (within reason!) and if I've managed not to catch it in 5 years of living with two cats who climb all over the furniture/bed, kissing and cuddling them and not being careful at all about washing my hands after stroking them etc.... then it would be really unlikely that I will catch it during the 9 months I'm pregnant. For some reason though this logic seems to go out of the window when the hormones kick in!!!

Thanks for your kind words, I really do appreciate it.

Courtneybrown Fri 21-Apr-17 20:42:58

I have 4 cats and always had cats during my last 2 pregnancys honestly hun it's completely fine I just don't do there trays.

my cats always cuddle up to me even more so now and I have severe cleanliness ocd and extreme health anxiety in recovery now smile but enjoy your cats honestly no harm xx

Wolfiefan Fri 21-Apr-17 20:48:03

This is your anxiety. You aren't at risk.
I say this as someone who has two cats and has had two kids whilst suffering with anxiety.
The advice is to wear gloves when dealing with litter. That's all. Unless you are using cat poo as a facial or handcream you are ok. Really you are.
It's no bad thing to keep them out of the bedroom if you will be doing that when the baby arrives anyway.

beekeeper17 Fri 21-Apr-17 20:57:03

I have a cat who we had during my last pregnancy and I'm pregnant again. My husband sorts out the litter tray usually but there are times when I have to do it and I use gloves. We also pop some boiling water in the empty litter tray for 5 minutes or so before refilling it with litter, makes me feel a bit better that any bugs are killed! I remember scaring myself when I read up about it during my last pregnancy but I'm pretty sure the risk is small.

mrsbumblebees Fri 21-Apr-17 21:03:42

Thank you so much everyone, you really are making me feel better and your lovely replies have bought tears to my eyes (damn hormones!!) flowers

I knew that there must be lots of women out there in a similar situation who are managing not to worry themselves silly so I will take you all as inspiration!

HN42 Fri 21-Apr-17 21:52:50

Just to add to this - cats protection and I think RSPCA might also do leaflets about cats and pregnancy which basically say cats themselves being handled are fine. I gave up doing the litter tray as soon as we started trying to conceive but I have otherwise handled my cat as normal. I just make sure I wash my hands before eating if I have handled the cat, but in general I have been obsessively washing my hands before eating anything just to try and avoid all the viruses that have been spreading around during the winter months.

alittlehelp Sat 22-Apr-17 09:40:25

I had the exact same anxiety in my first pregnancy (having also had the blood test which showed no immunity), and worries about the furniture etc. I found this quite reassuring:

I just take care to wash hands before eating and am much less stressed about it this time round with my second pregnancy. All the best with yours xx

silverfishlondon Sat 22-Apr-17 15:28:03

Hi, I am a vet, and mum of two, and was a cat owner through the first pregnancy. I was tested and have not got immunity dispite working with cats daily for 5+ years, and sick cats at that.
If they have had it they will only shed for a short period and may shed at later times if they are under the weather. I tried to remember to wear gloves when handling cats with diarrhoea but to be honest I wasnt too worried about it.
Also it may help you to relax to know that if they do pass it in faeces it is not able to infect you strait away ( as has to go through another life stage first ). Fresh faeces are not able to infect you for the first day.
Wash your hands after gardening as can be in the soil, particularly if your cats are using the flower bed as a litter tray.
You can also ask your vet to do a blood test to see if your cats have got immunity, but doesnt help you much as they could still shed or get it now.

WantingBaby1 Sat 22-Apr-17 21:46:54

Apparently you're more likely to catch it from doing gardening without gloves on than by stroking a cat. Keep away from the litter box, wear gloves whilst gardening and make sure to wash veg properly and you'll be fine. I have a cat too and pregnant. I worried about it until the vet put me at ease saying it's v rare to catch unless you're basically rolling in their poo confused

Hawkmoth Sat 22-Apr-17 21:53:30

I got two cats because I was broody, then had a surprise 4th baby. I didn't touch litter tray or feed them. They did spend a lot of time sat on me and my bump and my face at night. We're all fine now apart from cat 1 who doesn't like toddler screaming. It's an easy risk to minimise.

Probably saddest thing is baby says 'cat' more than 'mum' because they are more interesting than I am.

mrsbumblebees Sun 23-Apr-17 18:15:05

Thanks ladies - really good to hear from those in the same boat. Interestingly I've read that a lot of vets who have been tested have come back with no immunity so I'm hoping that picking it up from cats is very rare indeed, especially if not directly handling the poo!

littleshoutymouse Sun 23-Apr-17 21:09:15

Like silverfish, I work in the vet care industry. I'm a veterinary nurse, so throughout both my pregnancies, I was around hundreds of cats, of differing levels of health. The health and safety advice and protocols we follow are to avoid handling bodily fluid (faeces) where possible (or wear gloves and protective clothing), and wash your hands after handling. As long as you follow that advice, you will be just fine.

titihood Tue 25-Apr-17 13:15:59

I get my husband to clean out the cat litter (did the same with first pregnancy), and wash my hands before eating/preparing food (as always did before).

It is really hard not to over-worry about things sometimes when you are pregnant/have a young baby. It can feel like a really big responsibility to do everything 'right' and make sure nothing bad happens, and to guilt-trip yourself when you do something 'bad'. I stood in a Pret the other day Googling whether it was safe to eat parma ham because I really wanted a sandwich with it in. One source said it is fine in the UK so I got the sandwich, ate it with gusto, then proceeded to feel like a horrible mother for a few days worrying about giving myself some horrible illness that would be passed to the baby through the placenta.

All this to say, I know where you are coming from but the best you can do is reduce the risks (use gloves when handling cat litter, wash hands well after petting them/gardening etc.), and try to enjoy the weeks you have left with bump. It is a really magical time, just sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

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