Raw Information and Resources

Feline Nutrition Foundation Archive

Feline Nutrition Home PageBeginner
Feline Nutrition's Easy Homemade Cat Food RecipeBeginner's Luck: Where Do I Start?How to Transition to a Raw Cat Food DietJust What is a Raw Cat Food Diet, Anyway?Easy Raw Cat Food for the Busy PersonYour Cat's Nutritional Needs: The BasicsThe Benefits of Raw Food for CatsThere's No Such Thing as a Vegan CatEight Effective Bribes for the Kibble AddictDon't Let Your Senior Cat Become a Skinny Old KittyThe Skinny on Senior Cats: Metabolism ExplainedSlimming Your Cat: What Works, What Doesn'tHigh Pressure Processing: The Future of Raw Cat Food?No Bull, Taurine Is a Must for KittyAdding Taurine to a Raw Cat Food DietHomemade Cat Food, a Balancing ActThiamine in Raw Food for CatsCalcium Supplements in Homemade Cat FoodDon't Let Calcium/Phosphorous Ratios Scare YouVitamin E: Liquid vs. PowderArginine: Essential and Abundant for Cat NutritionLysine and Raw Cat Food DietsCare to Compare? Wild vs. Domesticated PreySpooked By Salmonella: Raw Cat Food!Tips for Transitioning Your Finicky Kitties'Natural' vs. 'Grain-Free' Cat FoodFiguring Out the Carbs in Canned Cat FoodTake Heart, But Not Too MuchThe Case Against Cod Liver OilFeeding Kitten Food to an Adult CatRaw Cat Food vs. More FiberProbiotics, Digestive Enzymes and Raw Cat FoodRaw Cat Food and Kibble Don't MixFeline Nutrition: Who Bears the Responsibility?Pet Food and Feeding: Personal RuminationsReading a Pet Food Ingredient Label
Bio-Inappropriate: The Dangers of Dry Cat FoodFeline Diabetes: The Influence of DietFeline Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Nature and TreatmentFeline Hyperthyroidism: What You Need to KnowA Diet for Your Cat's Urinary and Kidney HealthConstipation: Real Help for Your CatPhosphorus Can Be Key for Cat KidneysWater, Water and Water Battles CrystalsFeline Cystitis and Bladder/Kidney StonesHigh Blood Pressure: Yes, Your Cat Can Get It, TooNutrition is Vital When Treating Feline LeukemiaFeline Pancreatitis: Signs of TroubleAnother Furball? It Might Be Feline AsthmaOpen Wide: The Basics of Kitty DentalsCat Scratch Fever: How It Affects CatsDiet and Your Cat's Cancer RiskChunks and Bones For Your Cat's TeethA Cat's Food Allergies and Intolerances ExplainedHow Toxoplasmosis Affects CatsAvoiding Hepatic Lipidosis in Your CatHow Raw Food for Cats Affects Blood Test ResultsGet Kitty Exercising to Trim DownSalmonella: The Chicken or the EggSafe Handling Practices for Raw MeatIf You're Feeling Stressed, So Is Your CatChoosing the Right Insulin for Your Diabetic CatA Veterinarian's View on Raw Cat Food: Andrea Tasi, VMD
Answers: What Exactly is an 'Obligate Carnivore?'Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's AppetiteAnswers: Why Won't My Cat Eat?Answers: Who Were Pottenger's Cats and Do They Matter?Answers: To Grind or Not to Grind Raw Cat Food?Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's TeethAnswers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's FurAnswers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's PeeAnswers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's GutAnswers: One More Reason to Ditch Dry Cat FoodAnswers: Do Cats Need Dietary Fiber?Answers: Cats in a Bind over PhosphorusAnswers: Let's Talk About Cat BarfAnswers: Making Raw Cat Food Kitty-SizedAnswers: Raw Food for Cats, What About Eating Bones?Answers: Getting Kitty to Like ChunkyAnswers: Are Exotic Meats Nutritious or a Novelty for Cats?Answers: Raw Food and Outdoor Cats, What About Worms?Answers: Take a Deep Breath and Cut the Mouse in HalfAnswers: The Stomach Contents of PreyAnswers: Flaxseed Oil for Kitty?Answers: Plant vs. Meat – The Protein Feud for Cat FoodAnswers: Kitty That Only Wants FishAnswers: Is It Okay for My Cat to Have Milk?Answers: Feed My Cat a Raw Egg Yolk?Answers: Raw Cat Food for My Cat's Mystery Allergy?Answers: Your Cat's Acid StomachAnswers: Cat Urine Ph, Why It MattersAnswers: Kittens Go Through Teething, TooAnswers: Raw Cat Food for All of Those Kittens!Answers: Why Did My Cat's Fur Get So Silky?Answers: Goaltending the Cat Food BowlAnswers: Who Are AAFCO and the NRC?Answers: Taking the Complexity Out of B Vitamins for CatsAnswers: The Paradox of Prescription Diets for Cats
How to Think Like a CatRaw Meaty Bones for Cats: Adult Supervision Required!Let Me Tell You About Raw Cat Food. Hey Come Back!But Kitty, What Nice Teeth You Have...Sasquatch vs. My CatI Worry About My CatYour Cat Worries About ThisYour Kitty May Need to Go to Chunk SchoolAre Cats Clandestine Consumers?Dry Cat Food – The Big EasyEight Cat CuriositiesCats and Cantaloupe: A Method to their MadnessThe Myth of the Finicky CatFalling Off the Cat Food Recipe CliffCat Daddy Talks Cat DietThe Popularity of Cat PoopThe Most Important Member, YouYou Said You Feed Your Cat, What?Oh! Those Dirty Little Kittens!It's My Cat's House, I Just Live ThereBlack Cats Are Not Unlucky at AllLessons From the Stoic CatIs There a Cat in the House?Rice Isn't NiceDon't Let it Bug You Kitty!Tell Your Cat to Chew on This!Cat Longevity and the Ultimate Test?Bug Patrol and Cat Stampedes: Life with Lots of CatsWhat Scraps?
Feeding Raw Food In Australia: What's Up Down UnderThe Cemetery Cats of Buenos AiresCats Are Paying Attention to Your FeelingsCheetahs in Captivity Need a Better DietIt Started With a Caracas Cat Named CaterpillarConsidering a Hybrid Cat?Tales from the Trenches: Feeding Kittens a Raw DietSaving Alistair: How Lyn Thomson Helped Stop IBD 11,000 Miles AwayRaw Cat Food Essentials and Fun Stuff, Too!There's No Kibble Served at the Big Cat RescueWhat Bob Dole Taught Me About Raw FoodAn Answer For Alex: Raw Food and Tight RegulationMangiare Crudo in Italia (Raw Fed in Italy)Melamine to Frankenprey: A Documented JourneyCould Everything We Know Be Wrong?A Brief History of Commercial Pet FoodWhen a Vegetarian Feeds A Raw DietRead Me! Great Books About CatsDuke's Story: Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseAdoption: What Should We Feed Our New Kitten?Malaysian Kittens Meet Frankenprey!Raw Food Co-ops: Make Buying Less Trying!Feeding Cats Ring Dings and Krispy Kremes
One Page Guides
Cats Are Cats!What Should You Be Feeding Your Cat?The Dangers of Dry FoodRaw Feeding for BeginnersTransitioning to a Raw DietEasy Recipe for Success
About Us
Welcome to Feline NutritionThe Feline Nutrition FoundationA Message from the FounderThe Feline Nutrition Foundation Mission StatementThe Feline Nutrition Team

Blog & Newsletter

Current Specials

Current Specials

This content is archived from the Feline Nutrition Foundation

How Toxoplasmosis Affects Cats

Updated: Wednesday, May 01, 2019 04:30 PM
Published: Saturday, August 10, 2013 12:08 PM
Written by Guillermo Díaz. MV

My cat occasionally eats mice she catches outdoors, so I worry that she might be exposed to toxoplasmosis. I know about the dangers to humans from toxoplasmosis, but is it dangerous to my cat, too? Would I even be able to tell if she got it?

Wild and domestic felines are the only definitive hosts for the toxoplasmosis parasite. Both phases of toxoplasma gondii, sexual and asexual, occur in cats; it's the reason why felines are the main reservoir of the disease. The rest of the non-feline, warm-blooded animals are known as intermediate hosts. Toxoplasma gondii is present all over the world. Cats can get toxoplasmosis when they ingest infective cysts. This can happen from eating raw infested meat or wild prey such as mice or birds. Many cat owners are concerned that their felines will get toxoplasmosis through store-bought meat, but that is unlikely to happen because of all the sanitary and veterinary inspections that cattle and other meat animals undergo pre and post-slaughter.

Generally, the infection in cats is asymptomatic and goes unnoticed by owners. However, when disease does occur, it may develop when the cat's immune response is not adequate to stop the spread of tachyzoite forms. The disease is more likely to occur in cats with suppressed immune systems, including young kittens and cats with FeLV, the feline leukemia virus or FIV, the feline immunodeficiency virus. The most common symptoms of toxoplasmosis infection are fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. Other symptoms may occur depending on whether the infection is acute or chronic, and where the parasite is found in the body. In the lungs, toxoplasma infection can cause pneumonia, which will cause respiratory distress.

Cats that do get toxoplasmosis develop immunity for life. This means that they will never get and develop toxoplasma infection again in their lives. Many people are scared when their kitty renders a positive result when tested. There is one thing I have to stress, this does not mean that your cat is sick. It only means that she had toxoplasmosis at one point in her life or this simply shows the maternal antibodies passed from the queen into her kittens.

In humans, becoming infected with toxoplasma gondii is only considered dangerous if infection happens during pregnancy. It depends on the immune system of the mother and the stage of the fetus when infection occurs. During the first trimester, the likelihood for the embryo to develop neurological toxoplasmosis is higher than if infected at the end of the pregnancy. In cats, a queen infected with toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy will generally have abortion of the litter or the kittens will be stillborn.

The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in cats may be established by the same serological tests used in people: polymerase chain reaction, called PCR, histological demonstration of the parasite and/or its antigens, i.e. immunoperoxidase stain, or isolation of the organism. The most used of these tests is the measurement of antibodies in blood.

The end result is that, as in humans, infection with toxoplasma gondii will likely cause no symptoms at all in your cat. If your cat tests positive for toxoplasma gondii, you should not be overly concerned about catching it from your cat. There are two ways by which people can get toxoplasmosis, direct and indirect:


For this to happen, it is necessary that several events occur at the same time:

  • The infection must be recent. The cat will begin to shed oocysts between 3 to 10 days after ingestion of infected meat, and continue to shed oocysts for 10 to 14 days. It is rare for a cat to shed oocysts after this period, as an immune response develops.¹
  • The cat litter tray is not cleaned on a daily basis. The parasite on the feces must be in sporulating phase. This takes 1 to 5 days from the time the feces is eliminated.
  • The person must ingest these sporulating forms. This means the ingestion of fecal material. This may be rude, but it's true.


Ingestion of undercooked meat or ingestion of vegetables not properly cleaned.

The indirect method of infection is by far the most common. Getting it directly from your cat is actually rather difficult and requires some questionable hygiene practices on the part of the human. Having said all of that, we can conclude that there is no reason at all to get rid of your beloved kitty if she is infected, even if you're pregnant or will be. Keeping healthy hygiene habits such as cleaning the cat litter on a daily basis and washing hands thoroughly is enough to prevent direct infection. But in all things medical, your doctor must be consulted.Note: Feline Nutrition provides feline health and nutrition information as a public service. Diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions should always be in consultation with your own veterinarian. Feline Nutrition disclaims all warranties and liability related to the veterinary advice and information provided on this site.

Dr. Guillermo Díaz and family, including their four dogs (Leroy, Xica, Moza and Pepa) and six cats (Michalina, Tigger, Vladimir, Yellow, Mongo and Chirusa) moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina in July of 2017, where he expects to continue supporting different animal rescue groups, spread the benefits of raw food for cats and dogs and write articles about nutrition.

1. Astrid M Tenter, Anja R Heckeroth and Louis M. Weiss, "Toxoplasma Gondii: From Animals to Humans," International Journal for Parasitology Vol 30, Nov 2000, Issue 12-13, 217-258.