We treat our cats as part of our family, and sometimes we share our food with them and don’t mind them sniffing or licking our food. We might not think much of it because we love them so much. However, if your cat is ill and licks your food, there’s a risk of transmitting the illness or infection to you.
Can your cat make you sick?
We can’t see what type of microorganisms or even diseases might be in a cat’s saliva and if these can be transferred to us or not. But there are diseases that cats can transmit to humans, called zoonotic diseases. People with weak immune systems are at risk of these zoonotic viruses.
Zoonotic diseases can come from a bacterial or viral infection such as Salmonellosis, a type of bacterial infection that cats can acquire from eating raw meat or consuming their prey like rodents and birds.
Another bacterial disease that humans can get from cats is the scratching disease, which can be transferred to humans through cats’ saliva.
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Diseases you can get from a cat’s saliva
One of the most common diseases humans can get from cats is Cat scratch disease (CSD), or cat scratch fever. It’s a specific disease which cats can acquire from accidentally ingesting an infected flea during their grooming sessions.
While you won’t catch Cat scratch fever from your cat licking your food, it can be transmitted from an infected cat to humans through a cat bite or cat scratch. Bites and scratches don’t only happen when a cat is being aggressive, but also can happen while we’re playing with them.
Keep an eye out for changes in your cat’s behavior. Observe if your cat is still playing with you or seems to be suffering from pain.
You should also watch yourself for cat scratch fever symptoms if you have been accidentally bitten or scratched by your cats recently. The symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph glands
If you’re experiencing these symptoms for more than two days, you should consult a doctor immediately to see if you’ve caught the disease.
Aside from cat bite and scratch, cat scratch fever can also be spread through an infected cat’s saliva. This can happen if the infected cat licks someone’s open wound. The cat’s saliva transfers bacteria into the human’s blood through the open wound. If this happens, you should observe for CSD symptoms and consult a doctor.
All diseases carrying bacteria present in an infected cat’s mouth can be transferred to our food once we allow them to take a lick or bite on our food. Rabies is one of the most common infections an infected cat can transmit to humans.
This can happen if a cat with rabies takes a lick or a bite on our food. There will be rabies virus left on the food, which can make humans sick when the food is consumed.
With regards to rabies infection, you should always look out for your feline friend’s health. As a fur-parent, it’s important to know the primary signs of a rabies infection in a cat. The symptoms include:
- Inability to swallow food
- Dropping jaw
- Excessive saliva
- Acting out of their usual behavior
Cats can get rabies from the blood or saliva of an infected animal. This can be from an infected prey or another cat. Rabies infection can be fatal for both cats and humans.
The best way to avoid rabies is to have your cat vaccinated with an anti-rabies shot. Before they are vaccinated, keep your kitten indoors and provide them the best food and love they can get from you.
Kids and adults with weak immune systems are the ones who are more susceptible to get these diseases from infected cats. That’s why cat owners should take necessary precautions to prevent these infections from spreading.
Parasites a cat can carry
Parasites are considered a disease in humans and cats too. Cats can carry parasites that can spread and be transferred to humans, which can be fatal sometimes.
A cat’s saliva might have mono-celled protozoa and roundworm eggs, which can easily be transmitted from their mouths to your drinks or food when you try to share your food with them.
These parasites are tiny and can’t be seen by our naked eyes. They are extremely dangerous to your cat’s health and your health too. They quickly multiply inside the human body, which can cause serious sickness if not treated immediately.
Protozoa and roundworms can also be transmitted from one person to another in the same way they acquired the parasite from their cat, through their saliva. A mosquito bite can also transfer these parasites from an infected cat to humans.
Keeping you and your cat healthy
How to prevent your cats from spreading diseases
To prevent infections or parasites from spreading, you should start by stopping your habit of sharing your drinks and food with your cat. Don’t let kids or other family members feed cats from their hands, and educate them not to share their drinks or food with your feline friends.
Isolate infected cats from other house pets, and bring them to your vet immediately for treatment when they are sick.
Prevention is better than cure, so it’s best to get your cats checked by your vet regularly. Have them vaccinated and dewormed on time to ensure that they’re healthy inside and out.
Can our cat get us sick from rubbing against us?
Cats always want to eat with us while we’re eating. However, most cat owners don’t usually let their cats climb up to their dining table while having their meals. Instead, the cat may rub their bodies against their owners’ legs.
As a form of appreciation, the owner will pet the cat and then continue eating their own food with their hands. They might unknowingly get some kind of disease from the cat’s skin or coat, such as ringworm.
What is ringworm in cats?
Ringworm in cats is a fungal infection that can be transmitted to humans when a cat’s infected skin comes in contact with human skin. Ringworm can be seen on a cat’s skin as large irregular patches. Your cat can acquire this skin disease if they come in contact with an infected animal. This fungal infection can be treated with the use of a specific anti-fungal ointment or oral medicine.
We consider our feline friends as important companions and family members, so we should treat them unconditionally. However, we should also be aware of the diseases we can get from them if we don’t give them the proper precautions and care they need.
The diseases mentioned above start from a cat’s mouth and saliva. They can quickly spread if we let them take a bite of the food we’re eating, leading to dangerous situations. The best thing to do is to make sure your cats are healthy and avoid unnecessary food sharing with them.