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The common saying is to refrain from kissing your cat. This is good advice as there exist a few real risks when you kiss your cat. It is obvious that you should not kiss the cat when the animal is sick. The problem with cats is since they are stoic by nature, it is hard to figure out whether the feline is ill or not.
Not all cat diseases are applicable to you. Kennel cough is
completely a cat thing, and you will never catch it. There are many zoonotic
diseases, however, which could be transferred from felines to humans. The list
of zoonotic diseases includes common bacteria, like Salmonella, Pasteurella,
E-coli, and Staphylococcus. All these diseases are extremely contagious. The
ringworm is another common, highly contagious fungal infection. It can swiftly
spread from the affected cat to a human. The disease is relatively harmless but
can be a pain to treat.
Another risky zoonotic disease is Bartonella or cat scratch fever. It has been known to pass to humans. Parasites like Toxoplasmosis could occasionally be transmitted to humans by clumsy management of kitty litter. In case you believe your cat has any one or all of the above diseases, do not kiss the animal or touch it. Refer to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Contrary to popular notion, do not kiss your cat on its
lips. It is simply a rumor that the lips of a cat are more hygienic than a
human's. The lips of the cat, however, may contain bacteria which could result
in gum disease. Since a cat is a predator, it also eats animals and also
insects which could be disease carriers. It is thus unsafe to kiss your cat on
its lips. Alternatively, give a peck on the kitty's head as this action has
less chance of carrying any disease. You can ensure the oral hygiene of your
cat by regularly brushing the feline's teeth or the administration of mouth
wash. The veterinarian will be the best person to advise you on the techniques
to do this.
There is no harm in doing a
quick peck if both you and your cat are healthy. The risk of transmitting
disease is quite low. Some humans, however, are at risk when they come in close
contact with animals. The people who must stay away from close contact with
felines include pregnant women and toddlers. Also at risk are immunocompromised
individuals (like those who have HIV) and people having lowered immune systems.
If you or any members of your family fall into this category, then it is an
excellent idea to consult a physician. If you want to kiss your cat, do it only
when the animal is relaxed and calm.