Animal Use Safety Data: Felines

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Animal Use Safety Data: Felines

Working Safely With Felines


Zoonosis: A disease that can be transmitted from animal to human. This brochure provides basic information regarding zoonotic risk and who can be contacted for further assistance.

This information is provided to assist you in understanding the potential occupational hazards associated with the use of felines, cats and the need in some instances to take precautions to minimize the potential for animal-to-human zoonotic disease. Also of concern is possible disease transmission from human to animal. This is most acute when working with potentially immunocompromised animals.

How Can I Protect Myself?

Gloves, masks and a laboratory coat (or other dedicated protective clothing such as a scrub suit) should be worn when working with cats. In some cases protective eye wear is also indicated. Do not eat, drink, or apply cosmetics while working in an animal use area, and always wash your hands after handling cats. Remember that unfixed tissues, blood, serum, urine, and other materials derived from cats may also pose a risk.

Contact Enterprise Risk Management at 593-2237 for any concerns or questions you have about working with cats or any vertebrate animal and occupational risks. Help with training personnel in specific work practices to minimize risk can be obtained by contacting the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) at 593-3344.

BE ADVISED: All personnel working with dogs are eligible to enroll in the Occupational Health Program (OHP). Contact Enterprise Risk Management at 593-2237 for additional information.

If you work with felines, cats:

Bites and scratches may also pose serious problems through trauma and/or bacterial infection. Cats may also release microorganisms such as Salmonella and parasites such as Toxoplasma in the feces so cage washers and any personnel who must clean bedding should wash hands with a disinfectant hand soap before leaving the facility. Cats, like most mammals, can shed fur so anyone with allergies to fur, dander or animal bedding should wear personal protective clothing to minimize discomfort. Cats may also carry biting insects, such as fleas, so personal protective equipment may also be used in this instance as well.

The following links describe some of the potential illnesses associated with cats and may be found on-line:

Bites or scratches involving these species or injuries from objects contaminated with body fluids from cats require immediate first aid and medical attention.

Notify your supervisor!

For immediate life threatening injuries contact the University Police Department at 593-2611 or dial 911.

This page was last updated on: October 9, 2015