by Michele Brown
Dear Pet Expert,
I'm 3½ months along with my first child. My husband and I just got a new kitten, and I've had seven different relatives tell me that I can't touch cat litter. Is there any truth to this anymore, or was this a problem years ago and the new litter has different effects, or is it just the urine?
Is there anything else I should know about kittens and pregnancy? Is there any possibility of baby developing allergies because we have a cat?
But now I'm sure that Sarah will call the whole thing off (the camping, not the pregnancy), and part of me hopes she will. My caveman instinct, to lock her in the house for nine months so nothing can harm the pregnancy, is hard to overcome.
Toxoplasma is a one-celled parasite whose primary host is the cat family. Infected cats usually have no symptoms, but may shed as many as 10 million egg-cysts in their feces each day for the three weeks that their acute infection lasts. So what does this have to do with pregnancy?
For women who are not immune to toxoplasmosis, exposure to this parasite just prior to or during pregnancy may cause the fetus to be infected.
While protecting yourself from disease is important at all times, it becomes especially necessary during pregnancy when a baby is in critical stages of development. Having certain infectious diseases during pregnancy can result in severe and chronic problems in a newborn.