hi dan h,
im four months and some pregnant right now myself, and neither my doctor nor my vet has told me to get rid of my four cats
. the main concern is toxoplasmosis... this can be contracted by accidentaly ingesting a toxoplasmosis spore. these are present in the feces of an infected cats, and in some raw meat. a LOT of cats carry toxoplasmosis, but for an average healthy person this is not a concern... many people have already been exposed to toxoplasmosis without being aware of it, and the vast majority of people will not get sick from it. BUT, it can be VERY dangerous to an unborn fetus. a pregnant woman should not change a catbox, someone else should change it, preferably every 24 hours. in addition pregnant women should be careful when handling raw meat ( i feed my dogs raw, and i wear gloves every time i handle the meat) and pregnant women should avoid gardening or digging in the dirt in areas that outdoor cats may have used as a catbox.
i was surprised to find that i tested negative to toxoplasmisis... ive had cats all my life, including outdoor cats, and expected that i would have already been exposed. there is a myth that you can have your cat tested, but as it was explained to me by my vet.... a cat testing positive or negative depends completely on whether or not the cat is currently passing toxoplasmosis spores.... a cat may test negative one day and positive the next, so the tests are innaccurate.
so, as a precaution, i do not change the litterbox, and someone else cleans it daily. my cats are indoor, reducing the risk of them becoming carriers if they are not already. i also suspended the raw meat portion of their diet until my pregnancy is over... if by some chance a cat eats raw meat that is infected by toxoplasmosis, the spores will be passed in the feces. this is not true of dogs, who can eat meat infected with toxoplasmosis and will not pass the spores in their feces. cats are the only species to shed the infectious stage in their feces. my vet, who is supportive of raw diets, did not advise me to do this, it was a personal choice based on the research that i did.
IMO, there is no reason not to live with cat so long as the proper precautions are taken. my doctor and my vet agree.
here is a link that was shown to me on another board that explains the connection between cats and toxoplasmosis... read the section entitled Likelihood of Contracting Toxoplasmosis.http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/pr...plasmosis.html