7 tips to make you and your kitty happy

Celebrate the global Day of the Cat and promote a healthy cat and human co-existence with these tips to prevent toxoplasmosis. © IFAW/L. Cant-HaylettAugust 8th is the global “Day of the Cat”.

In order to ensure a happy co-existence of humans and cats, we are supplying you with some tips and also recommendations on how to avoid the disease toxoplasmosis. Not much is needed to make your kitty a happy bunny.

Here’s some easy to follow advice:

1.    Always provide for fresh water for your cat

a.    Cats need fresh water every day – especially, if they are being fed with dry cat food.

2.    Cats need the right type of food

a.    Cats are carnivores. They need a high percentage of animal protein. Protein derived from plants such as vegetables is not the right type of food for cats.

3.    Cats need shelter from the weather

a.    Especially if cats are "outdoor" cats, they need a “safe“ and cozy home where they can find shelter in bad or also in hot weather.

Learn more: How to keep your cat safe during a disaster.

4.    Cats need to get enough exercise

a.    Your “little tiger“ should have the possibility to exercise and move around. This counts especially for cats which are being kept only inside the house. They also need a cat tree in order to be able to sharpen their claws – they should have a possibility to engage in "natural behavior“.

b.    Cats want to play, it helps them to train their hunting reflexes. Take some time to play with your cat every day.

5.    Veterinary care

a.    A cat needs to be vaccinated now and again. This ensures that the cat – and also the owner – stays healthy.

6.    Cats need love

a.    A grateful purr will be your reward for providing a daily dose of love.

7.    Pregnant women; you need not worry about toxoplasmosis

a.    A couple of measures will help keep you from getting infected with toxoplasmosis – and you won’t have to give you cat away...

b.    Humans get infected with toxoplasmosis most often because they eat raw or only medium done meat. But they may also get infected through cleaning their cat’s litter box or working in the garden (if there is cat scat on the ground).

Here are some facts about toxoplasmosis

  • If women get infected with toxoplasmosis for the first time while they are pregnant, this may affect the health of their unborn baby.
  • The possibility of getting infected with toxoplasmosis is much higher when it comes to eating raw or half-raw meat than through your cat.
  • Cats will only get infected with toxoplasmosis once in their lifetime – after that they are immune, just as humans. Thus cats are only contagious once in their lifetime, which is during two weeks‘ time when they ingest toxoplasmosis pathogens’ eggs.
  • If the cat has been in the family for years and years – e.g. before the pregnancy - it is most probable that the owner is immune. But one may take a couple of easy measures for protection:
  • If you are pregnant, do not clean the cat’s litter box yourself – or use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap afterwards.
  • Clean the cat’s toilet every day (the parasites in the litter box will only start to be infectious after 24 hours).
  • Don’t let the cat out if she is prone to catching rodents (mice etc.). Rather keep her on a well-balanced cat food diet.
  • Take your cat to the vet regularly.
  • How can I protect myself from getting infected with toxoplasmosis?
  • Always cook or fry meat thoroughly and deep-freeze below 5°F. After having been in contact with raw meat, always and immediately wash your hands and all utensils used with detergent/soap and water
  • Wash raw vegetables and cook them thoroughly before eating them.

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Not all cats and dogs have happy and stable forever homes. Donate now to feed and relocate dogs abandoned during Ukraine’s political crisis.

Editor's Note:  this post was translated from German.

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Cora Bailey
Director, Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW)
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
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Hanna Lentz, Program Officer/Campaigner, IFAW HQ
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Jan Hannah
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Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Companion Animals
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Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Nancy Barr, Program Director, Animal Action Education
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Rebecca Brimley, Program Advisor
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