What Diseases Can Cats Give to Humans?

March 14, 2019 6:49 pm Published by

Can you catch your cat’s cold? Is it possible for your pet to spread disease to you or your family? Most feline infections affect cats only, but some diseases can be spread from felines to humans. These are called zoonotic diseases. Your cat clinic in Alexandra, VA has put together the following list of common zoonotic diseases to educate you on the potential dangers and how to avoid them.


While most viruses only infect the host, the rabies virus can be passed from cats to humans. This virus attacks the central nervous system and is almost always fatal in cats. If a cat with rabies bites a human, the virus can be transmitted to the human. To reduce the risk of rabies for both you and your cat, have your cat vaccinated for this virus (even if your pet is kept indoors).

Cat-Scratch Disease

This is the most common zoonotic disease in cats. Humans can catch this if they are bitten or scratched by a cat that is infected. In humans, the disease causes swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, fatigue and sore muscles. Many healthy cats carry the bacteria for this disease. To prevent the spread of cat-scratch disease, avoid scratches and bites and control fleas.


These parasites can cause disease in humans. Pet owners can develop visceral larva migrans by inadvertently consuming roundworm eggs. This disease can affect the eyes and other organs. Practice proper hygiene and reduce exposure to cat feces to reduce the risk of this disease.


This skin infection can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact with an infected cat’s skin or fur. The spores that are found on their skin and dropped onto surfaces can be picked up by humans. The result is a round, red, itchy lesion with a ring of scale on the edges. If a cat has ringworm, confine it to one room to reduce the spread of spores throughout the household, then clean and disinfect all exposed rooms.

Protozoan Diseases

Protozoans are single-celled organisms. These organisms can cause protozoan diseases. One of the most common is cryptosporidiosis. Humans usually become infected by their cats through exposure to a common source, such as water. The disease can cause diarrhea in people and cats. To prevent the spread of cryptosporidiosis, have your cat examined each year at your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA. If the disease is discovered, medication is available for treatment. Toxoplasmosis is a second protozoan disease that is common in cats that can also infect humans. However, people are unlikely to catch this from their pet. Instead, humans usually contract this disease by eating undercooked meat or contaminated soil (from unwashed vegetables).

Protect Yourself and Your Pet

One of the best ways to prevent infection in both you and your cat is to schedule regular checkups with your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA. This will allow your vet to detect any issues in your cat early on, so appropriate treatment can be provided. Vaccinations are also key to prevention. To schedule your cat’s next appointment, contact the friendly staff at Kingstowne Cat Clinic today.

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