By The Globe and Mail Staff Health Canada recommends washing hands after handling cat litter and chewing cat food to reduce the risk of getting sick from germ-laden food.
But cat owners may be at a greater risk if they use wet wipes to wash their hands.
That’s because a single dose of a potentially dangerous bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be deadly for cats, according to a report published Thursday in the Canadian Veterinary Journal.
“This is not a matter of being too protective of cats, it’s not about keeping them in a clean environment, and it’s definitely not about avoiding contact with cats,” said Michael Waddell, a veterinary infectious diseases specialist at the University of Ottawa and a co-author of the paper.
Waddel said the bacterium is found in feces, cat food and even cat bedding, including cat litter.
The bacterium can cause symptoms similar to flu and other viral illnesses, including pneumonia, meningitis and encephalitis, and can cause severe illness in humans and pets, the authors wrote.
A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in September found Pseudomonas aerugsinosa causes an outbreak in cats that has been linked to the spread of the coronavirus, though it’s unclear whether the outbreak is linked to food-related illness.
The authors said they have tested more than 1,000 samples from cat owners who have reported cases of Pseudomo-airway-associated pneumonia and meningococcal infections, and that most of the samples were positive for Pseudonas.
The team found that nearly half of the owners tested positive for the bacterious disease.
They recommended washing hands with soap and water after handling food and cat litter to minimize the risk.
The study authors said the risk is even greater if you keep your cats indoors, especially if you have pets that get in your way.
Wendell said the study should be the first step for researchers to learn more about how Pseudoma-airways infection spreads.
He said some people who suffer from Pseudomeo-airWAY infections may be reluctant to seek medical attention, and there’s not much evidence that cleaning the house is helpful.
“You can’t treat a disease by cleaning the home,” Waddill said.
“It’s not a treatment for a disease.”
He said there is no evidence that a specific wash will protect your cat.
The report says Pseudomyomonasia aeruginis is found only in cats and their droppings, which can be found in the cat feces.
However, the bacteria can also be found on dog, cat, rabbit, cat’s stool and dog or cat feces, the report said.
It’s not clear why the bacterias are found in so many places, including on the cat’s food, but some people have reported symptoms similar the flu or other viruses.
Wada-Poo, a veterinarian and veterinarian assistant who is also the founder of a website that provides information about Pseudobacteria infections, said the bacterial species may be a way to help people avoid contracting the disease.
“If you have a dog that you don’t care for, the only way you can really make a difference is if you make sure you wash their cat and then get your cat to go to the vet,” he said.
WADA-POO said his website also has a list of cat litter items that people can buy.
He suggested that people should take the time to wash off the cat, wash their paws, wash the cat bed and wipe their feet.
“The best way to clean is to get rid of all the cat litter,” Wada said.
He noted that the study authors used the term “pest” to describe Pseudomes aeruginosis, which means “bug.”
“That’s a word that we don’t often use,” WADA said.