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Pregnant Wife, avoiding toxoplasmosiwhatzit

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just found out my wife is pregnant and I don't want to take any chances with this toxocalifragilistic thing.

Of course I'll be taking over litter box duty (it was mostly my job anyway). Our cats our indoor cats and as far as I know we've had no mice, so I suspect the risk is rather small. Still...

Cats stand in the litterbox, cats dig around in the litterbox. They don't exactly "wash their hands" afterwards (I tried putting a tiny bottle of liquid dial and an "employees must wash paws" sign, but it didn't take). Are their paws a potential source of toxoplazzippitydoo?

Cats sit in the litterbox, then they sit on the couch with their nasty uncovered butts, then we doze off on the couch and our face ends up in the same area. Toxopalitosis?

I know it seems silly, but I'm being serious. The paranoid father-to-be in me is starting to imagine cat feces everywhere -- good thing I don't have a black light.

Any advice?


(by the way, here it is, in case someone tries to search for the term in the forum, here it is for real: "toxoplasmosis")
post #2 of 12
Unless your wife touches the cat poo then licks her fingers, she should be fine The chances of actually getting it are extremely low - she's more likely to get it from gardening than cat poo. If your cats are indoor, the chances of them having toxoplasmosis are very low as well.

From Wikipedia:

Most cats are not actively shedding oocysts and so are not a danger, but the risk may be reduced further by having the litterbox emptied daily (oocysts require longer than a single day to become infective), and by having someone else empty the litterbox.
So, don't worry too much - there's not much chance of your little one having issues from toxowhatsacallit - and congratulations!
post #3 of 12
There is also the fact that if you have had cats for awhile it is almost guaranteed that you have been exposed at once time in your life. I am PRETTY SURE once you have it you aren't likely to get it again.

I agree though, she can clean the litterboxes herself, just wash hands afterwords and wear gloves if you want extra precaution.
post #4 of 12
Relax. Most cases are gotten from handling/eating raw meat (like hamburger) and not washing your hands well afterwards.

The other way to get it is if the cats eat mice/rats or go in and out. When I was pregnant, my ex didn't want to do the litter chore, so I wound up putting on rubber gloves and doing it.

My son was fine, healthy, and nothing to worry.
post #5 of 12
also, there's more of a danger when the waste is left to sit. frequent scooping will solve that problem.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the quick and reassuring responses.

Of course, even without the risk of toxoziggydoo, the thought of the cats walking through their litterbox and then walking/sitting on my counter or couch is kind of gross. I can disinfect the counter, but what about the couch? Any thoughts on how you all deal with this?

post #7 of 12
It's very difficult to catch from cats. If your cats are indoor only and you don't feed them raw meat, it's virtually impossible that your cats will be infected with toxoplasmosis. Even if they had been infected, they would have to be actually excreting the infectious oocysts in their faeces to transmit it. The oocysts require an incubation period of 1-5 days so if the litter box is cleaned regularly there is minimal risk.

This is a good no nonsense article that might help to calm any fears you have

First of all, only cats who ingest tissue cysts acquire infection. Within the feline population, this would be limited to outdoor cats who hunt and eat rodents, as well as cats who are fed raw meat by their owners. In addition, only after a cat is first exposed to T. gondii does he typically excrete oocysts, and he does so for only two weeks. An outdoor hunting cat is often exposed to the disease as a kitten and is, therefore, less likely to transmit the infection as he ages.

Secondly, because oocysts become infective only after one to five days, exposure to the disease is unlikely as long as the cat's litter box is changed daily.

Finally, since oocysts are transmitted by ingestion, in order to contract toxoplasmosis, a woman would have to make contact with contaminated feces in the litter box and then, without washing her hands, touch her mouth or otherwise transmit the contaminated fecal matter to her digestive system.
post #8 of 12
What kind of litter are you currently using? The scoopable ones or the pellet ones are better and they don't seem to "track" as much. Plus they are more absorbing so the litter doesn't get as wet and yucky.
post #9 of 12
I'll tell you what my doctor told me when I got pregnant and told him all the horror stories well-meaning folks told me. He said he wished people would mind their own business and not scare newly pregnant moms-to-be. He did suggest that my hubby do the litter box duties while I was pregnant, did say we should always wash up after cleaning the litter (no-brainer) and that since I had had my cat for 10+ years that I probably had built up any immunities to anything she might have (she was also indoor only) and that those immunities are passed to my unborn child in my womb.

So, use common sense by washing your hands properly and when required, enjoy this pregnancy and your kitty.

After baby is born, don't shut kitty out either. I had my cat on my lap as I breast fed so she never felt she was being shut out or no longer wanted. She was a lovely Siamese and was very close to me and because I kept her close even after our daughter was born, she was wonderful with our baby. My cat put up with more from our baby once she started to crawl than she would take from anyone else but me.
post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by CallMeZoot View Post
Thanks to everyone for the quick and reassuring responses.

Of course, even without the risk of toxoziggydoo, the thought of the cats walking through their litterbox and then walking/sitting on my counter or couch is kind of gross. I can disinfect the counter, but what about the couch? Any thoughts on how you all deal with this?

Wash what you can and don't think about the rest

Seriously, there is only so much you can do and you can drive yourself crazy worrying about it if you think about all the germs you come in contact with. I would worry more about her putting her hands on the shopping cart handle at the grocery store, than worrying about where your cat has sat down.

Congrats on the baby!
post #11 of 12
I think that it is wonderful that you are a paranoid daddy-to-be, but in this case relax. It is such a slim chance that your wife could get anything, but always better to air on the side of caution. Take it from me-when I was pregnant (9 mos ago), I was neurotic about things like toxoplasmosis, cat hair everywhere and kitties in the crib. You will relax-I did, and we have 9 kitties!!! There is cat hair everywhere, litterboxes were cleaned even when I was pregnant and kitties sleep in the crib with our daughter. Nothing has ever happened to her, and both my daughter and I had a healthy, happy pregnancy. As far as cleaning the couch-there is no great way to clean the upholstery-but what about either a blanket that you can wash or a slip cover for the couch? The one thing I will never understand (and not that you would do this) is when people give their kitties away because they are pregnant, WHAT ARE THEY THINKING????? it's not the poor cats fault you got pregnant! Anyway-calm down, relax and enjoy this pregnancy with your wife, it's cute you want to protect her, but it is not a big risk for her or your baby-by the way I don't think anyone has said CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
post #12 of 12
The only thing you need to worry about is when the baby is crawling - teach the baby (and barricade till the baby knows) that you don't play in the litter box!
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