6 Diseases Cats Can’t Transfer to You

It seems like there’s always some new sensationalized horrific disease you can catch from your cat, but very few diseases can actually move between humans and felines, and the ones that can are caused by parasites. As far as viruses and bacteria go, though, you’re almost certainly safe from catching germs from your cat. Here are a few diseases and conditions you needn’t worry about when handling a cat.

1. A cold

The viruses that cause kitty colds are very specific to cats and cannot survive in the human body. Although certain flu bugs such as H1N1 can on rare occasions pass back and forth between cats and people, any type of ďcommon coldĒ virus is not transmissible from cats to humans.

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The feline immunodeficiency virus (sometimes referred to as ďfeline AIDSĒ) is not contagious to humans. Although it is related to the human immunodeficiency virus, it is species-specific and cannot in any way be spread from cats to humans. If you or someone you know is living with HIV, you might be glad to know that cats canít catch HIV, either.

3. Mange

Although humans can get a skin infection called scabies — which, like mange, is caused by a mite — the types of mange mites you find on your cat cannot thrive on human skin. According to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Health Service, feline mange mites may cause a mild itch that goes away quickly as the mites die off.

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4. Leukemia

Feline leukemia is caused by a virus specific to cats and is not at all related to the human blood and bone marrow cancer known as leukemia. Although feline leukemia is known to cause cancer in cats, it does not cause cancer in humans. End of statement.

5. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease

Although hand-foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious between people, it cannot be transmitted from animals to people. If your child comes back from a friendís house with the disease, donít blame the cat!

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6. Ear mites

These nasty little pests make their home in waxy deposits in your catís ear canal. You might think that because we humans also have wax in our ear canals, the mites might spread to us if we sleep near an infected cat, but thatís not true. Ear mites are species-specific to dogs and cats and donít thrive in human ears. Also, human ear canals are short and straight, while catsí ear canals are L-shaped and may provide a warmer and moister environment for the mites.

Are there any feline illnesses youíd like to learn more about? Do you want to know if your cats can get germs from you? I really want to put my science nerd hat back on, so leave a comment telling me what you want to know and Iíll answer your questions.

Photo: Cat licking human finger by Shutterstock

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This post was written by JaneA Kelley, regular contributor to Catster Magazine.


Barbara S
Barbara S14 days ago

Cats don't need to be free part-time to be happy. If you love your cats, play with them every day. They are not here to simply entertain themselves and you. They are here because we enjoy each other's company, and enjoy being a family member. My life would be so empty without cats. And I like to think that their lives are much richer because I care enough about them to have them as family.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Good Info, thank you for sharing.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

great info, thank you for sharing.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Adrienne L.
Adrienne L2 years ago


Melissa DogLover
Melissa DogLover2 years ago

Great stuff to know!!!!

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Our furry friends always treasure us; how about us to them???

Maggie D.
Maggie D3 years ago

Just a thank you to you brilliant people on care2 who gave me help and advice about Convenia. Trinnie is completely recovered and the drug worked well. You all helped me through such a worrying time. Care2 rocks!

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

I'm with Debbie C. Give her green stars.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I'm more worried about diseases on shopping carts than I am with my kitties!! I know my cats are clean, - not so much with shopping carts!