Can cats contaminate food?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Can cats contaminate food?”. We will discuss the different health risks of eating contaminated food. We will also look at ways to stop your food from being contaminated by your cat

Can cats contaminate food?

Yes, most cats can spread diseases and bacteria into your food, and cat owners must be aware of this. These diseases could be hazardous to the person’s health and should be addressed. Keeping your food and eating utensils away from your cat is the easiest way to stay safe.

Can all cats contaminate food?

Yes, but cats that spend a lot of time outdoors are more likely to be carrying diseases than a fully indoor cat.

If your cat lives solely indoors, you won’t have to bother too much about the cat contaminating your food. You can certainly share the meal which your cat has lapped, however, if your cat is a regular out-goer, having a meal with your kitty is not a good idea.

What are the risks of eating food contaminated by a cat?

Salmonella poisoning and toxoplasma are the two most common diseases you can catch by eating food contaminated by a cat.

Salmonella poisoning

Salmonella poisoning, also known as salmonellosis, is caused by the bacterium group known as Salmonella and can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain 1 to 3 days after infection. 

Salmonellosis is normally contracted by eating tainted food, such as raw chicken or egg, but it is also possible to catch the disease through infected cats, who can host Salmonella bacteria and transmit them along in their feces. 

Although salmonellosis normally goes away on its own, vomiting and diarrhea or the infection’s effects on regions besides the digestive system may necessitate medical intervention.

Salmonella is more usually discovered in cats who eat uncooked meat or wild animals, so owners may protect themselves as well as their cats from salmonellosis.

Toxoplasma infection

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a pathogenic single-celled organism that may infect nearly all animals and birds. Domestic and wild cats are the parasite’s final hosts because T. gondii pathogenic organisms are only found in cat feces. T. gondii is most commonly found in cats that hunt or are fed raw meat.

Although toxoplasmosis cannot be “caught” from an infected kid or adult, it can be contracted if you:

  • Make contact with parasite-infested cat excrement.
  • If you touch your face after cleaning, cleaning a litter box, or handling anything that has come in contact with infected cat feces, you may accidentally eat the parasites. 
  • Eat contaminated food or drink. Lamb, pork, and venison are particularly susceptible to infection.

How to avoid food contamination from a cat?

Take these precautions to reduce the danger of salmonella and toxoplasmosis and its complications:

  • Spoons, forks, and other utensils that your cat has been in contact with should not be used. Unless carefully cleansed in warm, soapy water after coming into touch with raw meat, kitchen utensils can carry parasites.
  • It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when emptying litter boxes or yard work (in case pet cats are defecated in the soil), and to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Don’t consume fruits and vegetables that have not been washed. The parasites might be found in the outer reaches of fruits and vegetables. To be safe, clean, and peel all food well before eating it raw.
  • Assist your cat in maintaining his or her health. Keep the cat indoors and feed it canned or dry cat chow rather than raw meat. Cats can contract the parasite after ingesting prey or raw meat containing the parasite.
  • Stay away from stray cats and kittens. Even though all stray animals require loving homes, it is preferable to let others rescue them. 
  • Most cats show no signs of T. gondii, and while they can be checked for toxoplasmosis, the results can take up to months to come back.
  • Have your cat box cleaned by someone else. If that isn’t possible, put on mittens and a face shield to protect yourself. Clean the cat litter daily and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

How to stop your cat from eating your food?

First, feed your cat: Before you eat, take the time to feed your cat. A consistent feeding schedule and pattern will also make your cat feel more confident about mealtime, making him less inclined to try to eat whenever food is available.

Remove any leftover food as soon as possible: Scavenging for crumbs left out after supper helps some cats acquire a taste for human cuisine.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Can cats contaminate food?”. We discussed the different health risks of eating contaminated food. We also looked at ways to stop your food from being contaminated by your cat

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/zoonotic-disease-what-can-i-catch-my-cat
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20356249#:~:text=Toxoplasmosis%20

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.