Probably since I’m not pregnant yet and see this “issue” only on the distant horizon, I hadn’t thought much yet about toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can be carried by animals (primarily cats) and that I’ve heard is a sizeable danger for pregnant women, so much that their partners should scoop the litter box(es) during the pregnancy. Really I’ve only thought about it in terms of being able to take a break from litter box duty for 9 months. (Just kidding, hubby. Kind of.)
Thankfully, largely gone are the days when people try to insist you should get rid of your cats when you become pregnant (give me a break) although the sentiment obviously still exists, as I learned while reading one of my favorites, Sanguine Symmetry, the other day. I was curious what the current medical opinion is, so I explored that today at our vet’s office.
Hubby and I were there, taking our cats for their regular six month appointment. I told the vet we are trying to start a family and asked if it’s really true that hubby needs to scoop the litter box when and if I become pregnant.
“You have to get rid of the cats,” he said.
Just kidding, our doc didn’t tell us to get rid of Spencer and Chloe. If he had I would have laughed him right out of the exam room and promptly found us another veterinarian. What really happened was:
“Weelll,” he smiled and laughed, “it’s not as cut and dry as people think.”
He went on to say a few very interesting things. According to doc:
- Toxoplasmosis is more of a concern with indoor/outdoor cats in the picture (ours are indoor)
- Toxoplasmosis is more commonly caught from handling raw meats than it is from being in close contact with cat feces
- My OBGYN can and will do a screen for toxomplasmosis early on in any future pregnancy to determine if I’ve already been exposed and am thus immune
- Toxoplasmosis generally takes 72 hours to develop (if it’s even going to) in feces…so if you scoop your litterbox every day or two, like we do, it shouldn’t be an issue
- It’s always nice to have your partner scoop just in case, but if you do scoop, wear gloves
His real recommendation involved doing a deworming of the cats a few months before I give birth. He said that this is more of a concern as far as cats and pregnancy/newborns are concerned. He also recommended a crib tent to keep cats who like to snuggle away from baby.
I found our morning lesson very interesting, but have to admit I’m just a teensy tiny bit disappointed I didn’t get a definitive, “You give that pooper scooper to your husband, and you give it to him the moment you find out you’re pregnant!” as an overwhelming response. 😉