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Contact with cats 'not a risk factor in T. gondii'

Wednesday, 5th September 2012

Cat owners are not at an increased risk of contracting the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii), a charity has said.

Following media reports that the parasite is spread by cats, Cats Protection has said statistically, cat owners are no more or less likely to contract T. gondii than non-cat owners.

Beth Skillings, clinical veterinary officer for the charity, wrote that people usually come into contact with the parasite through other routes, such as eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables.

She said: "To reduce the risk of infection especially important for those in higher risk groups, both cat owners and non-cat owners can take sensible precautions, such as practising good food hygiene, wearing gloves when gardening and cleaning out litter trays."

Ms Skillings added that Cats Protection is concerned about the emphasis placed on cats, as it may discourage potential owners from adopting an animal or encourage owners to give up their pets.

She noted that people must not forget the benefits and happiness owning a cat brings to their owners.