Toxoplasma gondii, a common parasite found all throughout the world, does not only infect animals with toxoplasmosis, but can also be transferred to humans. The life cycle of the T. gondii parasite begins when it infects an animal such as, but not limited to, a bird, rat, or mouse. These animals are typically prey for larger predators such as cats, which are the definitive host of the parasite. When a cat hunts an infected animal, the T. gondii parasite will move into the cats body where it will reproduce and have its offspring released in the cats feces. Common symptoms of T. gondii in felines include: diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fever.
To most people the T. gondii parasite does not affect them since their immune systems are strong enough to reduce the impact of the parasitic infection. However, pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems should be cautious when around cat litter or feces. It is more difficult for these populations to fight off the infection and can result in very negative impacts on their health and on the health of unborn fetuses. So how can you help prevent your cat from catching T. gondii? If you suspect your cat has been infected you should talk to your vet about getting your pet tested for the parasite. The most simple preventative measure to help you reduce the possibility of you or your cat from contracting T. gondii is to keep your cat indoor and far from animals that may carry the parasite. You should also limit the amount of raw meat that your cat consumes and instead feed your cat a diet that is already prepared, such as kibble or canned cat foot. For a more in-depth discussion about diagnoses and treatments available for your cat you can go here!
With Summer fast approaching, it is important to know where your cat is and what they are consuming. With these tips you can help keep both you and your loving pet safe from the parasite while still enjoying the beautiful weather!