Do I have to give up my cat if I'm pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?
No. You can follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma.
- Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
- Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat's feces.
- Feed your cat a high quality canned wet food while pregnant as feeding raw may increase risk of exposure.
- Keep cats indoors, always!
- Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Call VOKRA for help instead. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
- Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
- Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand.
And some great advice from a VOKRA Volunteer and Mom:
- We kept our 2 cats. My family doctor at the time said transmission of toxoplasmosis from cat to human is rare but to take the kinds of precautions listed in the post. The challenge comes after the baby is born. It can be stressful looking after kitties on top of a newborn so tap your support networks for help! And a GREAT gift for a cat-loving new mom would be a few hours of kitty-help here and there: changing/scooping boxes, feeding, playing, cuddling them. Trust me: that will be appreciated far more than things!
Thank you to http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html for this information.