Diseases Your Cat Can Spread To You

When your cat catches a serious disease, you might feel at least relieved that you are safe from infection because cat sickness won't affect you. Unfortunately, many cat diseases are zoonoses, which are diseases that animals can pass to humans. The following diseases are just a sample of zoonose cat diseases.

Cat Scratch Fever

When your cat scratches or bites you, they can potentially pass on the Bartonella henselae bacteria. This bacteria causes a condition known as cat scratch fever. According to the Center for Disease Control, 40% of all cats carry this bacteria.

Generally speaking, this condition causes swollen and red lesions that can ooze pus. It also causes serious pain, fevers, headaches, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. Serious problems include heart issues, as well as issues with other internal organs. These problems are, thankfully, quite rare.

Feline Conjunctivitis

Feline conjunctivities or pink-eye is a common infection in cats. It causes cat eyes to become red and swollen. It is often caused by infections and congenital tear duct defects. In later stages, a crust often appears around the eyes.

This crust should be avoided at all costs. Direct contact is the most common way feline conjunctivitis spreads: touching your cat's eye and then your own will cause an infection. So, when your cat appears to have feline conjunctivitis, avoid contact with it as much as possible.


Cats are one of the most common sources of toxoplasmosis in humans. This disease, caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, infects plenty of mammals, but finds a particular home in the digestive system of cats. It is only through cats that the creature can continue its life cycle, as it lays its eggs in cat feces.

It causes a variety of problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Severe fever
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness

Cat owners who clean their litter box are especially at risk for infection and the Center for Disease Control reports that over 60 million people in America carry the Toxoplasma parasite. Thankfully, strong immune systems are able to keep the parasite in check.


Tuberculosis is one of those nasty diseases that is both dangerous and extremely contagious. It infects the lungs of its victims and can spread to various parts of the body, causing serious health dangers.

Scientists have hypothesized cat-to-human tuberculosis infection for years. Unfortunately, their fears were proven well-founded when four English people caught the disease from a group of infected cats. Although the experts in that case said it was a "very rare case," its occurrence proves that it can happen.

If your cat shows symptoms of these diseases, take it to a veterinarian, like those at Ark Veterinary Hospital, as soon as possible. They can diagnose and treat the problem and keep you and your family safe from infection.