Can I catch diseases from my cat?

The answer is - it depends on the disease. You can definitely catch some things from your cat - but just because your cat gets sick doesn't mean you can get sick from it. Many cat diseases can only affect cats or only small animals, but not people. There are also a lot of diseases that are deadly for cats and scary sounding to owners, such as Feline AIDS or Feline Leukemia - but those particular diseases you cannot get from your cat.


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Here are some of the ones you have to worry about:

Parasites - Fleas, ringworms, hookworms, tapeworms, ticks - most things like that can affect both people and cats. Some, like heartworms, can only rarely affect people.

Rabies - The biggie and most dangerous for people. If a cat goes rabid, then biting or scratching you can transmit it to people. This is mainly something to worry about if you have contact with a feral cat.

Infection - Cat scratches, but especially bites, can cause infections. This isn't really a disease you get from the cat, just that you have an open wound and bacteria live in the cat's mouth. There is also really a disease called cat scratch fever, a specific bacteria that you can get sometimes from the scratches if you don't treat them. This causes swelling in the lymph nodes, which are just little glands you have all around your skin in different places. It's not a serious disease though, just an annoying one.

Lyme Disease - You can get this from ticks from your cat.

Plague - This probably isn't likely to happen if you're in the developed world - but theoretically a cat that caught it could give it to you. It still happens in foreign countries though, so if you travel that is at least possible.

There are a couple of others, but these are the big ones. Most diseases will not spread from your cat to you though, so don't be too freaked out about your safety if your cat seems to have something.

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