Should Cat Owners Avoid Healthy Cats?

Is it safe to own a cat? A new paper suggests the answer may be Yes.

Maybe Yes

The new, possibly-pro-cat paper is: “Healthy cats provide more health benefits than risks to owners,” Michael Lappin, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, vol. 21, no. 11, November 2019, pp. 1007-1007. The author explains:

“In these 2019 AAFP Feline Zoonoses Guidelines, we discuss the most common zoonotic infections of cats and the classic clinical signs of disease, incorporating findings from the research published since the original 2005 version…. If the recommendations provided are followed, the odds of acquiring an infection from your own cats are quite unlikely, and the Guidelines also emphasize the fact that cat ownership can have health benefits.”

The paper suggests that one obtain an “easy-to-print” document called “What Can I Catch from my Cat?“:

Maybe No

The risks of owning a cat have been copiously documented by others, notably with the awarding of the 2014 Ig Nobel Prize for public health to two groups of researchers—to Jaroslav Flegr, Jan Havlíček and Jitka Hanušova-Lindova, and to David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan, Lisa Seyfried— for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat. The prize honored several publications written by the co-winners:

  • REFERENCE: ” Changes in personality profile of young women with latent toxoplasmosis,” Jaroslav Flegr and Jan Havlicek, Folia Parasitologica, vol. 46, 1999, pp. 22-28.
  • REFERENCE: “Decreased level of psychobiological factor novelty seeking and lower intelligence in men latently infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii Dopamine, a missing link between schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis?” Jaroslav Flegr, Marek Preiss, Jiřı́ Klose, Jan Havlı́ček, Martina Vitáková, and Petr Kodym, Biological Psychology, vol. 63, 2003, pp. 253–268.
  • REFERENCE: “Describing the Relationship between Cat Bites and Human Depression Using Data from an Electronic Health Record,” David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan, Lisa Seyfried, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 8, 2013, e70585.