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10 Tips for Families with Cats

Don't Let Kitty Make You Sick

Some people don't like cats. A cat may be drawn to such a person because it senses the negative energy and wants to make it go away. Instead of retreating, your kitty may jump up into the lap of someone who isn't fond of cats and knead with her paws.

Other people have a physical allergy to cats, which is more difficult to deal with. Before adding a cat to your household, try to make sure no one in the family has a cat allergy. Let everyone spend some time visiting a home with a cat. If a family member has allergies that might be cat-related, it's good to have a medical test to find out.

Cats can spread a parasite called toxoplasma through their litter box. Everyone should wear gloves when changing the litter box and wash hands well afterward. Infection from this parasite -- known as toxoplasmosis -- can cause birth defects in humans, so keep any and all pregnant women off litter-box duty [source: CDC].

Cat scratch disease can result if a cat infected with the bartonella bacteria bites or scratches you or gets saliva on you. It's rarely serious, but the person may have a swollen lymph gland, fatigue, headache and maybe even a fever. Stave this off by keeping Kitty healthy and handling Kitty gently so she doesn't bite and scratch. Everyone, especially children, should wash hands well after handling Kitty [source: PubMedHealth].

Read on to know how to keep Kitty from getting sick.