Zoonotic disease

A disease that can transfer from a cat to a human is known as a zoonotic disease.

There are four exposure points through which cats can spread diseases to humans:

  • faeces
  • bites and saliva
  • scratches
  • contact with skin

It is unlikely that a member of the public would contract a zoonotic disease from a well-managed assistance cat for these reasons:

  • A highly-trained cat is unlikely to go to the toilet in public, so members of the public will not come into contact with faeces.
  • A cat chosen for its calm temperament that has been desensitised to everyday stimulus is unlikely to bite or scratch a member of the public.
  • Fleas, scabies, roundworms, hookworms, and ringworms are passed through contact with skin. However, risk is unlikely if the cat is receiving regular flea and worming treatment.