8 diseases transmitted by cats

8 diseases transmitted by cats

8 diseases transmitted by cats

It is not because they are vaccinated that our friends with four legs are not carrying sometimes contagious infections to man. These diseases transmitted by cats can be parasitic or bacterial caused by worms, mushrooms, microscopic organisms (protozoa) or even by insects and acarids.


Toxoplasmosis comes from a microscopic organism whose forms of dissemination are eliminated in the feces of the cat. A simple contact with the litter of your cat and the soiled hands carried then to the mouth can induce a contamination.

In the animal, the disease can pass unperceived. To human it causes benign and provisional symptoms like momentary tiredness, moderated fever, increases in volume of ganglia. It is possible to carry this parasite thereafter without realizing it. This generally benign infection for human can become extremely serious for an immunodeficient subject and for a pregnant woman that could lead to abortions or affect the brain or the retina of the new-born baby.

In the event of pregnancy an obligatory serological screening takes place as of the first weeks of amenorrhoea. To avoid any contamination, wear gloves during the replacement of the litter then thoroughly wash your hands with soap. If you are pregnant, just forget about this chore. Your spouse will undertake during your pregnancy and no more contact with the cat! However, the major contamination for human is done by the consumption of poorly cooked lamb meat, which constitutes the primary source of parasites.

Tinea (ringworm)

The tinea is a mycosis characterized by lesions, often circular, alopecic (loss of hairs), curing spontaneously then reappearing in the vicinity. The mushroom is transmitted to the man by simple contact by handling the cat. They are thus often children (very caring with their cat), who catch the tinea. We then find lesions on the zones of contact like the hands, the forearms or the neck and the cheeks. Start by treating your cat with a local treatment disinfectant then with a systemic absorption in liquid form or tablet. For you, the doctor will prescribe antifungal to apply directly to the cutaneous lesions. Everything comes back to normal after 2 to 3 weeks.


Also called disease of the claws of the cat, in fact especially the cats of less than one year are most likely to be carrying certain bacteria of the Bartonella kind. The cat, in which the infection passes unperceived, infects itself following a flea bite. The dejections of fleas that have their blood meal on the infected cat contaminate the claws and teeth of the cat during its toilet. A scratch or a bite is enough then to inoculate the bacterium to man. Most frequently affected are the children because of their promiscuity with the animal. Following a scratch, a papula develops at the level of the wound then 3 weeks later the lymphatic node (ganglia) at the point of the scratch increases in volume. Completely painless, the bartonellosis regresses spontaneously in a few weeks, except for a immunodeficient person to whom the disease is much more serious and an antibiotic treatment is essential then.


The virus of cowpox, of the family of Poxviridae, infects wild rodents naturally. The name of the disease is misleading, it had initially been isolated to cattle. The cat which chases infected rodents will be infected in its turn. Simple carrier or patient, the infected cat will transmit the virus to the man by simple cutaneous contact. In general, for human and cats the disease is benign with localised cutaneous lesions. However, it is necessary to consult a doctor for a good medical assumption of responsibility. It is a notifiable disease for human.


Rabies is due to a virus of the Lyssavirus kind. This disease is transmitted through bite or scratch of a dog or a cat, it can be break out 10 days after the bite or even after several months. Once declared the disease is always mortal. The risk comes primarily from the imports of dogs of countries where rabies prevails and which enter in an illegal way the territory. The dog or the infected cat can transmit the disease about ten days before he declares clinical signs of rabies hence the importance of a veterinarian monitoring of the animals that have bitten or scratched.

With some exceptions, the clinical signs of rabies are similar to men and to animals. For human we usually notice a phase of modification in behavior (anxiety) followed by symptoms variably associated: shakings, muscular contractions, hydrophobia, hyperesthesy (sensory over-sensitivity), intense agitation, state of madness, ascending flaccid paralysis… which carry out ineluctably towards death.

It is thus necessary to act quickly. Following a bite, clean the wound, in particular with the Marseille’s soap, which neutralizes the virus. Then, quickly consult your doctor who will guide you towards an anti-rabic center. According to the risk with respect to the level of rabies which the biting animal represents, you will be given an anti-rabic serum. This treatment will be supplemented by the repeated administration of amounts of anti-rabic vaccine to the first, 3rd, 7th, 14th and 30th day after the infecting bite.


It is a microscopic organism which multiplies itself in the digestive tract of the dog and the cat. It is transmitted through dirty hands, litter and excreta. This parasite can cause benign digestive disorders (diarrheas) to the animal as well to human.

The symptoms should not last more than three days. If they are prolonged a consultation to the doctor is essential who after a request for analysis of stools will prescribe an antibiotic.

For the animal, it is above all strict measures of hygiene which will be able to eliminate the symptoms as well as the administration of an adapted pest-control treatment.


Tetanus is due to the spore-forming bacterium Clostridium tetani present everywhere in the environment. The spores of this bacterium can contaminate the claws and the oral cavity of the dog and the cat which do not develop the disease. The latter are then carrying these spores and a simple bite or scratch to human can inoculate the spores. Tetanus is characterized in particular by disorders of swallowing, a contraction of muscles of the face and the back, generalized spasms which can become intense and the stop of the respiratory muscles.

For someone not correctly vaccinated against tetanus, the treatment is long and constraining based especially on antitetanus serum and antibiotics, dispensed over several months. The vaccination to human against tetanus is standard and very effective. If you were scratched or bitten, disinfect the wound immediately and quickly consult a doctor who will check your vaccine status against tetanus and will judge if a vaccine booster should be administered.


Caused by a bacterium of the Pasteurella kind, which naturally is part of the oral flora of the dog and cat without involving disease. Following a infecting bite or scratch, the first signs of the disease appear between 3 and 6 hours, at most 24 hours: the intense inflammation of the area of the bite is a sign the the bacterium is multiplying. It exists a more insidious chronic form where the wound is closing again imprisoning the bacterium inside the organism. The bacterium drives then much later symptoms more difficult to treat: tendinitis or vascular disorders. In the event of a bite or scratch, it is thus necessary to well clean the wound and to quickly consult a doctor who will judge if you should be given an antibiotic treatment.

Important pieces of advice regarding our pets


– Never approach or touch an animal that is not familiar

– Never leave children alone with an animal.

– Do not to disturb or approach your dog or cat when it is eating, sleeping or during a fight with another animal.

– Do not to maltreat it, or make sudden moves, or take it by surprise

– Never look a dog or a cat in the eyes, it could feel threatened.

– Comply with the rules of hygiene: regularly wash your hands after having played with the animal, no kisses on the mucous membranes, do not put your hands to the mouth and eyes after petting.