Lassa fever: Wrong reason to buy cats

Lassa fever: Wrong reason to buy cats

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Cat owners are less likely to contract the Lassa fever virus from rats because cats can kill rats, thus reducing the spread of the disease from animals to man.

However, if the primary reason for purchasing a cat is based on the outbreak of the disease, you are making a right choice for the wrong reasons because pets should never be purchased on impulse.

Pets should be kept primarily for companionship and to share your love.

Cats are beautiful, intelligent and sensitive creatures. They are born hunters with superb hunting instincts that are not dulled even if they are domesticated.

Cats are very playful and can be the perfect buddies for children. But, ensure that you teach your children the act of responsible pet ownership and do not leave them unsupervised when they are playing with a cat.

An interesting study showed that children who live with pets during their first year of life have a lower risk of respiratory tract infection and need fewer antibiotics than children in non-pet homes. This is because pets track more dirt and bacteria into homes and this increased exposure to germs, help to develop a more stable immune system, particularly in children between the ages of five and eight years.

Also, children who own pets or share in pet care responsibilities are often less self-centered and more likely to develop humane attitudes, such as empathy and good nurturing abilities, than children who do not own pets. The reason is that pets help to stimulate better social integration and competence. For example, cleaning a dog’s kennel, grooming or feeding a pet are often multi-step processes that make them more adept at following multi-task instructions.

Individuals and families thinking of getting a cat should research, prepare and then, when the time is right, seek a cat that realistically complements your lifestyle, schedule and energy level.

Keeping a cat is like having a new person that lives in your home. So, you need to evaluate your level of commitment because cats can live up to 15 years. It is highly irresponsible to have a cat and not take good care of it.

I advise that you make a budget before you buy a cat. Your budget will include an estimate for the cost of food, veterinary bills, toys, grooming brushes, combs, and other accessories. Also, you will need to consider the cost of purchase or building a cat condo (an artificial structure for a cat to play, exercise and relax on).

Routine veterinary care is required to prevent cats from falling sick. You also need to realize that there are some diseases a sick cat can transmit to its owner.

For example, you need to be cautious of scratches from a sick cat, as this may result in a disease known as cat scratch fever or Teeny’s disease (Infectious disease caused by an inter-cellular bacterium known as Bartonella henselae). This infection shows clinical signs, such as swelling of lymph nodes, fever and fatigue in humans.

Another disease that can be transmitted by sick cats is known as Toxoplasmosis (Infectious disease caused a bacterium known as Toxoplasma gondii). This bacterium resides in the urine of infected birds and rats. The disease can be transmitted to cats whenever they kill such infected animals.

A cat that is infected with toxoplasmosis can transmit the bacterium to a human being and this is a major cause for concern if the individual becomes infected during the third trimester of pregnancy. It may result in severe foetal abnormalities or an abortion. This is why obstetricians advise pregnant women not to change cat litter boxes.

To prevent you or your cat from getting infected with toxoplasmosis, wash your hands after scooping the litter box and don’t let your cat outside to hunt.

These diseases are not found in healthy cats. So you must ensure that your veterinary doctor carries out a general check-up on your cat, at least once in four months. During this visit, he will update your pet’s medical records by administering any required prophylactic medication or vaccination.

A healthy cat has no disease. All it can spread is to you is “pure unconditional love.”

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