Facts on Cats
Why can’t Cats drink milk?
Movies and cartoons of old haveformed a strong impression in our minds that Cats drink milk and eat fish. Well, they like fish but benefit more from a varied diet, but they cannot tolerate milk, even though they love it. Why? Because they cannot process the lactose found in milk, and a build up of unprocessed lactose in their system can make them sick.
Is there any way I can let my Cats enjoy this dairy product they love so much? Yes, either get them Whiskas Milk or Pets Own Milk, or, cheaper, get lactose free milk.
Why do we need to vaccinate our Cats every year?
There is a rumour going around that it is okay to leave a 3 year gap between vaccinations for your Cat…. It brings to mind how people aren’t vaccinating their children, creating pockets in the community of where there is no protection from diseases, such as, whooping cough, which can be, and has been, fatal to babies who are too little to be vaccinated against it, let alone the return of other almost stamped out childhood diseases because of this belief system. I can only imagine the devastation of our much loved Cats if feline enteritis was allowed to take hold because we actually believed this.
I have researched this topic for you with advice from veterinarians and will provide you with the facts about timely vaccinations.
Do You Know What You Can Catch From Your Cats?
Zoonosis derived from Greek word zoon animal and nosos ailment ~ is any infectious disease that can be transmitted from wild and domestic animals to humans, and from humans to animals (the later being reverse zoonosos). These infections can be carried by agentseg.: bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. There are several diseases that we can contract from our beloved cats, but there are things we can do to avoid it. Here we will outline some diseases, their symptoms, what to do if you contract them, how to avoid infection and how to seek more information.
Cat Scratch Disease ~ is caused by the bacteria, henselae Bartonella, and is carried by the cat’s fleas. The cat does not usually display any symptoms, but for a human, when passed on via scratching or biting, can cause systemic illness and swelling of the lymph nodes. Make sure you clean the injury site thoroughly with an antiseptic /antibiotic solution and apply an antibiotic ointment. This is usually remedied with a course of antibiotics, also, up-date your tetanus shot.
Pasteurella ~ is a bacteria present in 75-80% of cat’s mouths, mainly due to tartar build up and gingival disease. Symptoms and treatment are the same as Cat Scratch Disease.
Feline conjunctivitis ~ can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, and if caused by a foreign body in the eye can result in a secondary bacterial infection. Germs are easily spread by handling your cat, but can be easily remedied by eye drops and eye ointments, for both you (from your doctor), and your cat (from your veterinarian).
Salmonella ~ bacteria can be present in the faeces of a cat who eat raw meat or wild birds. This can be spread orally after handling faecal matter and cleaning litter trays (touching your mouth before washing your hands). Symptoms are fever, headaches and abdominal pain. Seek medical advice as you may need to go on a course of antibiotics.
Helicobacter Pylori ~ bacteria causes gastric ulcers in humans. You need to talk to your doctor about treatment.
Streptococcol ~ bacteria is rarely transmitted from cats to humans causing tonsilitis and pharyngitis. Penicllin is the preferred antibiotic.
Ringworm ~ is a fungus causing circular itchy scaly patches on the cat’s skin and the same for humans. Treatment for cats is with tablets, dips or baths. Treatment for humans is with anti-fungal cream. Fungal spores make it difficult to eradicate, and sometimes humans mistake their symptoms for eczema.
Toxoplasmosis ~ is caused by protozoan parasite (a single-celled animal) Toxoplasma gondii, and is acquired by cats by eating infected prey/meat. Other animals and humans can be infected if in contact with the cat’s faecal matter. Symptoms are muscle aches, headaches and sore throat, and for someone with a weak immune system, brain infections. It may be transmitted to the foetus in a pregnant human causing health issues for the baby. Cats are only a minor source of this infection to humans and disease is rare.
Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV, Feline AIDS) ~ are viral diseases. There is no conclusive evidence that these viruses can pass on to humans, however, there may be a small possibility that people with weak immune systems and children should have minimum exposure to affected cats. On the positive side, the feline companionship benefits appear to outweigh the risks, plus, vaccinations are available for your cat.
External Parasites ~ fleas and ticks can cause irritations and inflamed areas on the skin, and intestinal parasites, such as, roundworm eggs, can infect humans via a faecal to oral route.
*Have your cat regularly examined, teeth cleaned and appropriately vaccinated by your veterinarian *Ask your veterinarian how to restrain your cat adequately if it tends to bite or scratch whilst handling *Do basic health checks on your cat daily *Do not allow your cat to go on food preparation surfaces, disinfect surfaces that your cat has been on *Keep your cat clean, well groomed and parasite (fleas, all worms, ticks) free, worming yourself simultaneously with your cat *Follow basic hygiene procedures: always wear gloves when cleaning up faecal matter and cleaning cat bedding areas; wash and disinfect kitty litter trays thoroughly and air dry, to avoid bacterial growth; and always wash your hands well after cleaning and handling your cat, especially prior to handling food.
As you can see it is possible for zoonosos to occur via a number of agents, some common, some rare. The symptoms described can be flu like. It is best to seek medical advice as treatment is as simple as antibiotic therapy in most cases. The spread of infections can be avoided by utilising simple hygiene procedures, and providing appropriate veterinary and home care for your cat. Talk to your vet and doctor about zoonosos diseases and investigate zoonosos websites.