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Is it safe to have a cat when you're pregnant?

60% of mums feel that their new baby could catch an illness from their cat due to toxoplasmosis concerns

Posted: 13 June 2011
by Katie Garner

New survey results reveal that 60% of women believe their cats could cause their new baby to develop illnesses due to toxoplasmosis fears. The majority of women (7 out of 10) also felt worried that they could catch the disease from their pet.

In light of this, Cats Protection, the charity behind the online survey of 1,500 pregnant women and mums, have issued new guidelines to aid mums-to-be and parents about reducing risks of infection.

Toxoplasmosis can infect any warm-blooded animal, but cats are the primary host of the virus, which can also infect humans through contact with contaminated raw meat.

The survey also showed that 35% of pregnant women were being given the wrong advice regarding whether to keep cats during pregnancy, with 16% being told to give up their cats by a non-qualified source. 

“I'm horrified how many women give up a loved family pet because they wrongly believe they shouldn't have contact with cats during pregnancy. This can upset the whole family. As for the poor cat, it goes into care and charities like Cats Protection are stuck with finding new homes - not an easy task in this current climate,” Dr Carol Cooper, a family doctor and parenting author, said.

Cats Protection recommends:

  • Steer clear of the litter tray, but if it unavoidable, then ensure you wear gloves
  • The litter tray should be changed daily
  • Wear gloves when gardening
  • Don’t feed your cat raw meat
  • Outdoor sandboxes should be covered
  • Wash your hands after contact with stray cats and kittens

Cats Protection have compiled a short video to provide mums with further information.

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