- Toxoplasmas gondii is a single-celled
organism that has the cat as its primary host.
- Cats can be infected by catching prey.
- Humans can be infected by eating and handling raw or undercooked
meat, or by not washing their hands after gardening.
- An infected cat will shed oocysts in its feces.
- These oocysts can be picked up by another cat or by a human.
- In most people, an infection will have little effect, but for
those with reduced immunity it can be serious.
- Toxoplasmosis can seriously affect an unborn baby.
- Therefore, pregnant women should not change cat litter.
- Fortunately, if the cat litter is changed daily, there is little
chance for the oocysts to be come infective, thereby greatly reducing
any risk of infection.
- Outside of warm climates, most human infections occur through
undercooked meat rather than from feces in soil or litter.
Source: Understanding Cats -- Their History, Nature
and Behavior, by Roger Tabor, The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.,
Pleasantville, NY, 1995, pp. 123-124.