Diseases Diseases

Can You Catch Diseases From Cats?

Published at 04/01/2012 19:28:48


Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans are termed zoonotic diseases. The people who are the most at risk for contracting a disease via their animals are the elderly, young and people with a compromised immune system. In this article, we will centralize this concept by discussing diseases from cats that can be transmitted to humans.


The first diseases from cats we will discuss are Toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma Gondii. Cats are a prime host for this parasite, and these diseases from cats can cause humans to be infected via contact with used cat litter. Individuals who are at risk for these diseases are those who have a weakened immune system, additionally an infected mother can infect her baby through the placenta. A symptom of this type of diseases from cats differs in accordance with the condition of a person’s immune system. For those who have healthy immune systems, they may experience enlarged lymph nodes in the head and neck, Headache, Mild illness with fever, similar to mononucleosis, Muscle pain and a Sore throat. Symptoms in immunosuppressed persons include Confusion, Fever, Headache, Retinal inflammation that causes blurred vision and Seizures. The tests that can be carried out for a suspected case of Toxoplasmosis are antibody titers for toxoplasmosis.

Cranial CT scans, MRI of head, Slit lamp exam and a Brain biopsy. When diagnosis has been confirmed to be these particular diseases from cats then treatment will begin. This takes the form of Medications, including an antimalarial drug and antibiotics.

In order to prevent this disease from manifesting pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems should avoid cleaning out cat litter boxes, children play areas should be clear of cat and dog feces and individuals should wash their hands after being in contact with cat feces.


  • The next disease that humans can catch from cats is Ringworm, a fungi infection. Cats are common carriers of the fungus and can transmit to humans when they pet an infected cat. Ringworm is a highly infectious infection thus it will spread easily among humans that are in contact with each other. Symptoms of ringworm include, Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze these patches tend to have sharply-defined edges, often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. Ringworm looks like its namesake describes a ring. Upon visiting a doctor, these diseases from cat can be easily diagnosed via its distinctive appearance. However, there are additional methods of diagnosis, including shining a Wood's lamp onto your infected skin in a dark room, Ringworm will glow, or a KOH exam, Skin biopsy and a Skin culture.

    The heath provider will prescribe pills to treat the fungus if the infection is severe, reoccurring, or it is in your hair. If these conditions do not apply to your case the following measures will be taken instead.

    Keep your skin clean and dry.
  • Apply over-the-counter anti-fungal or drying powders, lotions, or creams that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar ingredients.
  • Don't wear clothing that rubs against and irritates the area.
  • Keep you sheets and bed clothes clean and dry during the duration of the infection. 

Ringworm should disappear after 4 weeks of treatment. 

Tips and comments

For Toxoplasmosis most primary infections produce no symptoms. Those who do not experience any symptoms typically don't require any treatment. 

Infected pets should also be treated for ringworm to prevent  being infected again.