Can I get sick from my cats sharing my food or drink?

  • My cat loves to drink out of my water glass.

    We don't try to encourage the behavior, but sometimes she sneaks a sip while we're not looking.

    She also sometimes tries to have a taste of our food.

    Can drinking or eating after my cat has taken a turn make me sick?

    Is your cat an Indoor or outdoor cat?

    My cats are indoors only, but I Dont think we should have a separate version of this question for outdoor cats. I would prefer answers that address both situations.

    It would just depend in my mind on what they are getting into. If the cat is indoors, they likely aren't coming into contact with bacteria, if they wander outdoors they are most likely hunting and consuming raw meat, which could harbor disease. That's why I asked.

    Well, in the Northeast it's getting colder & mice are looking for a warm place - so indoor cats can also encounter 'raw meat'

    For what it's worth, my take on this is that for the most part my indoor cats aren't exposed to anything I'm not, they sleep on my pillow, I don't wash after handling them... if there's anything I'm going to catch from them it's probably something I bought in, and there are enough exposure routes that kissing the cat or having it nibble at something makes no difference. However, since they aren't allowed on food surfaces, this rarely has a chance to become an issue.

  • John Cavan

    John Cavan Correct answer

    8 years ago

    The short answer is yes.

    The longer answer is that while, for the most part, there aren't many zoonotic diseases that can transfer from cats to humans, there are some infections that can be transmitted from the cat to you through shared sources, notably protozoal infections. These are basically single-celled organisms that can cause severe diarrhea in both humans and cats and are normally contracted from the same sources (e.g. tainted water). However, depending on the cat and its habits they may be drinking water you are not, such as toilet water, and so it's possible that it taints your water via transfer.

    Also, the great indoors is not always isolated from the great outdoors. Mice and other small rodents, along with insects, can also enter the premises and they may contaminate things that, in turn, get picked up by the cat. The Center for Disease Control has a list of possible infections that could arise.

    If you are drinking tap water, the chlorination will help kill any bacteria the cat introduces. The low temperature will keep them from growing in the glass.

    @Oldcat Not all of us are on city water. I, for example, get my water from a well and it is not chlorinated.

    Then I would worry about the well rather than the cat.

    @Oldcat - this is why we have filters and get water tests done.

    I came here with the same question - (outdoor) cat likes to sneak some sips of my water glass if she finds it - but I also throw the water out and place it in the dishwasher afterwards. So I wondered if this is different enough to be a separate question ("does a dishwasher cycle protect against diseases shared through the water") or is it considered covered already, or too (human-)health-specific for the site?

    @rumtscho - Link updated. The answer to your first question is that the dishwasher should be able to sterilize if your dishwasher has a sanitizer feature. I think a more general question is more to the ability to sanitize generally, it just happens that your case is in a pets context.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM