Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: stray | cat | health | hazard | feeding

Are Stray Cats a Health Hazard?

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 04:24 PM

Question: My mother feeds stray cats in her neighborhood every day. Is there any danger that they can carry diseases that might put her at risk? She’s 85 and in pretty good health.

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Stray cats can carry various bacterial, viral, and parasitic disorders, but generally don't pose a risk to a normal, healthy person, from a communicable disease standpoint. The main concern with feral cats is the occasional cat that has rabies.
Bites from a feral cat can expose her to rabies so there may be a danger to feeding cats whose immunity to rabies is unknown — unless they have been tagged and released previously. Many cats also carry toxoplasmosis, which can be very easily transmitted. Some may have nuisance disorders such as fleas or ticks.
An unhealthy stray usually appears sick, so assuming the strays your mother feeds are healthy, her risk of disease exposure is probably not very high.

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Stray cats can carry various bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases, but don't usually pose a risk to humans.
Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 04:24 PM
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