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Stupid Question ... possibly...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Can we pass on our sicknesses to our pets or vice versa? It just seemed odd that right after I had a terrible cold, two of my cats came down with it. Maybe a coincidence but it got me thinking. Anyone know the answer?

Julie (Mommy to Lilly, Cali and Mia - as well as their canine brother and sister Sampson and Sophie)
post #2 of 12
Yes, it's possible, and it does happen. The good old stomach flu, seems to be one that easily jumps from cats to humans and vice-versa.
post #3 of 12
That's a good question actually... I never thought that humans could pass cold/flu to cats or dogs or visa versa. But your situation makes one think again
post #4 of 12
I didn't know we could pass the flu to cats.. but then again the flu is from animals in the first place..ie swine flu.. The new bird flu they are warning us of is transmittable from bird, to other animals, and humans.. hmmmm
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well now this adds more questions...lol. I was under the belief that if a cat had Feline HIV, it was impossible for THAT to carry to humans. If this is indeed true, how can flu's, etc. be carried to each other and the other not?
post #6 of 12
We get that question a lot and our vet says no. Human and animal sicknesses and viruses are different, and cannot be transferred to one another, with the exception of some like Lepto...It also isn't possible to contract FIV from cats. Anyone feel free to correct me, but that's what my boss says.
post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by menagerie mama
We get that question a lot and our vet says no. Human and animal sicknesses and viruses are different, and cannot be transferred to one another, with the exception of some like Lepto...It also isn't possible to contract FIV from cats. Anyone feel free to correct me, but that's what my boss says.
Menagerie Mama,
My vet and boss also told me we can’t pass viruses/illnesses such as the flu and colds to our animals and they can’t give them to us. FIV can’t be transmitted from cat to human. With that being said (and like you mentioned), there are exceptions like Lepto and Rabies etc., and we can still get other nuisances like scabies, ringworm, and other internal parasites which can cause diarrhea, and therefore mimic some symptoms of the stomach flu.
post #8 of 12
As to things like bird flu, what happens is that a random mutation occurs in the flu virus that allows it to be transmitted to humans. Thus far, each time this has happened some people have fallen ill, some have died, but ultimately the flu was controled so that version died out. The reason health officials are worried is that there is a possibility that one of these mutated versions will be more successful, and a pandemic (illness that spans multiple continents) will result. This is only likely to occur, however, because of the unsanitary conditions of the poultry industry in China. There are large concentrations of birds living in squalor, and humans working among them without any protective gear. So, when an illness hits the birds, the situation is ripe for the virus to hop species and propogate itself further.

However, generally speaking the situations are not ripe for such a mutation to be at all successful. So, existing versions of kitty colds/flu can't be passed to humans, and vice versa.
post #9 of 12
Here's the reason I think some viruses affect cats and humans alike. Now, I'm not a biologist or a scientist, so disease transmission isn't my forte, so if someone has an explanation, please feel free to chime in.

My sister-in-law's cat became ill. Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, general lethargy.
Vomitting lasted one day, diarrhea for 2 days, lethargy for 2 days. No treatment was given. Condition cleared on its own and the cat was back to full speed normal by day 3.
We all assumed she had eaten a bit of spoiled food, since there was a question as to whether a portion of rabbit had remained out on the counter too long.
Anyway, my sister-in-law had been over to our house to visit on the first day. She told us her cat had vomited several times in the morning. All the while she is playing with and petting our cats in the house.
Two days after her cat is completely better, the first of our 6 cats in the house gets sick. Same symptoms.
Within another day we have 4 sick cats. At this point my sister-in-law is sick as well. Same symptoms as the cats.

Another day goes by and my wife becomes ill. Same symptoms as the cats.
The other 2 cats are ill now too. The first 4 cats are nearly recovered.

Each cat and person who got sick, was better by day 3.

I'm the only one who didn't get sick. Once our house cats started getting ill, we took precautions not to bring this into our cattery. None of the cattery cats became ill.

Is there another reasonable explanation as to why this situation occured? Can't possibly be coincidence and it's not a case of food poisoning.
post #10 of 12
I highly doubt any flu type things can be passed from humans to cats or vice versa.

I had a really bad case of viral pneumonia last year and the whole time I was sick, Dusty slept on my chest or very near me. I fed them, cuddled them, etc. and none of them got sick from me, and I was drop dead sick.

I kiss my cats on the mouth (always, I love them!) and to this day, they've never caught anything I've had (I have a cold right now) and we've never gotten sick from them. Like tummy trouble or anything, etc.
post #11 of 12
There are some illnesses called zoonoses that are transmittable - I read an article on Messybeast (www.messybeast.com) about it the other year, and I think there were only a few that were transmittable between humans and cats, one being ringworm.
post #12 of 12
There are a few illnesses that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. Rabies is the most famous and most deadly. Leptospirosis is another, it affects dogs more than cats and is spread by contact with urine. Toxoplasmosis is another, which humans can contract either by ingesting infected fecal matter that is more than 48 hours old or (more commonly) by eating infected, undercooked meat.

Many gastrointestinal infections and parasites can be spread from cat to human, though. Just as you can pass the "stomach flu" from person to person in your house through inadequate handwashing, so you can pick up a bacterial intestinal infection or parasite that your cat has if you are not careful about washing your hands after coming in contact with fecal matter. Hand washing is the most important thing to keep yourself healthy.
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