As a loving pet parent, you probably want to show your cat all the love and affection you can, but how safe is it to kiss your cat? And should you kiss your cat on the mouth?
Many people, in particular those who aren’t owned by a cat themselves, are repulsed by the thought of a human kissing their cat, “he licks his bum with that mouth!”, but to you it’s just another sign of your mutual affection.
How Risky is it to Kiss Your Cat?
As well as being part of your family, you mustn’t forget that your cat is still an animal who can harbour germs and bacteria that can be passed onto you. Zoonotic diseases that your cat can pass onto you through kissing include cat scratch fever, the fungal infection ringworm, highly contagious common bacteria like E-coli and salmonella, and nasty parasites such as toxoplasmosis.
Are Some People More at Risk Than Others?
There are certain groups of people who are more susceptible to picking up germs from cats, and that’s just common sense really. We know that pregnant women should avoid cleaning out litter trays because of the risks to their unborn child, so they’re obviously going to be more at risk of picking up bacteria through smooching with their cats. People with weaker immune systems, such as young children, older people and people with auto-immune deficiencies and diseases all fall into the high risk category as well.
Should You Kiss Your Cat on the Lips?
Although your cat’s mouth isn’t going to be a complete breeding ground of bacteria, there is a much greater chance of passing bacteria from your cat to you if you’re regularly kissing him on the lips. In all honesty, a cat ‘kissing’ you by rubbing his head and face on you is a much bigger sign of affection than a kiss on the lips, as he’s transferring scent markers to claim you as his, so kissing his furry little head is probably the safest option for when you want to demonstrate your love for him.
Although there are some health issues involved in kissing cats, it’s important to remember that there are proven health benefits that come from owning a cat. Owning, taking care of and regularly petting a cat are all proven to increase your health by lowering stress and its related diseases, so don’t let the risk of germs put you off having a loving relationship with your purrfect pet.
Be sensible when it comes to kissing cats, only kiss your own cat because you know the state of his health, and if you’re concerned about the potential health risks limit it to kissing him on the head, and you won’t need to worry about it.
Do you kiss your cat? What’s your view on kissing your cat on the lips – should you or shouldn’t you?
Top image: Juanedc.com via Flickr