killed by cat poo

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Araminta's picture
killed by cat poo


Did you know that your cat can kill just by going to the toilet?

Bam-bam was a wallaby, hand-raised by Bonorong staff and released into the wild.  Like millions of native animals across Australia, his mother was killed by cat poo.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that is carried in the intestines of cats.  While most people are in no danger from it, it can be very dangerous to pregnant women.  Unfortunately Australia’s native animals have very little defence against this disease.  They can get it from eating grass or drinking water that a cat has used as a toilet any time in the past 18 months.

Of all the terrible things that humans and their pets inflict on our native creatures, ‘Toxo’ must be one of the worst.

The effects are horrific.  Victims will commonly go blind and lose co-ordination.  Unable to control the direction they are walking in, they will simple pace around and around in circles.  The loss of eyesight makes the animal feel vulnerable so they are in a state of constant panic.  They are literally being eaten alive by the parasite inside them.  There is no effective treatment.

What can I do?

Thankfully there are things we can all do to help with the terrible problem of toxoplasmosis.  Mostly they are the same rules that apply to all responsible pet owners.

  • For your cat’s safety and the safety of our wildlife, don’t let your cat roam during the day or at night. Confine your cat to an outdoor cat run or keep it indoors, just as you would your dog.
  • Fit your cat with a collar, two bells and an ID tag.
  • Get your cat de-sexed to avoid unwanted kittens and stray cats.
  • Teach your cat to always use a kitty litter tray.  Then dispose of the litter thoughtfully (in the bin).  The eggs that cause the infection are very hardy and can survive for up to 18 months in the environment.  They can even survive being flushed down the toilet.  Even whales have been known to be infected by Toxo which has come out of sewage pipes into the sea!

dwatsonbb's picture

Hi ML, someone obviously read my post, hope you found the other stories of survival interesting too. Thanks for putting Bam-bam's story up.

Toxo is one of the most common reasons native animals come into care, with road trauma high up the list as well, although pretty much any adult with toxo will be euthanised, as there is no cure.

For anyone who is interested most of Bonorong's photos on the site are by Houndstooth Studio's Alex Cearns. She is working with a lot of animal rescue organisations (Australia wide) raising awareness and much needed money for worhtwile causes.

See this link for their charity work (Holly feel free to edit, if it goes against forum rules)

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Holly's picture

All good Dale smiley

Araminta's picture

Yes Dale , all of it and all the linksyes Bonorong is doing such a fantastic jobyes couldn't let it pass without pointing it out.


Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Whenever I read anything about toxoplasmosis I wonder how many creches and kindergartens have uncovered sand pits. They would be a favourite pooping-place for neighbourhood cats. One day someone is going to take the childcare system through the courts. And people are still walking out of Bunnings with large plastic shells to put sand in for their children. Surely they have no knowledge of toxoplasmosis. And what is the policy of the various public health authorities I wonder. I'd have thought that toxoplasmosis was at least as dangerous as asbestos, and there are plenty of restrictions and regulations about that.

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