The organization cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which show that cats are rarely the source of toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, and that people are unlikely to get sick from touching or owning a cat.
“People are more likely to contract toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked meat or gardening—not from cleaning their cat’s litter box,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.
The news reports the organization is rebutting reference a published study (“Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Self-directed Violence in Mothers”) that examined a potential relationship between toxoplasmosis infection and suicide risk in 45,788 Danish women. The study itself did not examine cats or cat ownership; however, media reports greatly exaggerated the risk of contracting the disease from cats.
Alley Cat Allies advised the public that there is no reason to give up their pets or stop caring for cats, a recommendation supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The organization condemned the media for the potentially dangerous consequences of these erroneous headlines for cats, stating that more than 70% of cats entering shelters nationwide are killed.
“Cats brought to shelters as a result of these rumors are more than likely to be killed there,” said Robinson. “We hope that pet owners and public officials listen to the voice of reason and that no cats become innocent victims of the media’s irresponsible reporting.”
###About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 260,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is www.alleycat.org.