First we learned that your cat’s poop might give you fits of rage, and now it turns out just being around our cats could make us seriously sick.
NPR reports more people are becoming seriously ill with something called cat-scratch disease, a sickness that you can get if your cat's claws pass on certain bacteria when they scratch you. You can also get it by kissing your cat or touching your cat. Nothing is safe.
Each year, around 12,000 people get the disease that causes symptoms like a bump or blister near the scratch, fatigue, fever, headache, and more. The disease comes from bacteria that’s passed cat to cat and is also found in flea poop, which cats can get on their paws, in their fur, and in their mouths. If your cat scratches or bites you, you’re at risk for the disease that can turn into a heart infection or cause your brain to swell. While fewer people are getting the disease, NPR points out, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the cases that do happen are getting more serious.
To lessen your risk for the disease NPR says you should be sure to treat your cat for fleas and and keep it indoors. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands after you touch your cat and not to kiss your cat. If it has flea poop in its fur and that poop comes into contact with your mouth, you might get sick. And NPR reports that kittens are especially risky because young cats are even more likely to have the bacteria that makes you sick.
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We always suspected cats had some grand plan to take over the world. Maybe cat-scratch disease is their first step.