Cats have the potential to transmit a parasitic infection known as toxoplasmosis to humans through contaminated fecal matter (via BabyCenter). If a pregnant woman becomes infected, it can lead to birth complications such as eye, brain, and organ damage, as well as potential health issues for the mother (via U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While women can contract toxoplasmosis during pregnancy, an infection can also occur in the months leading up to conception. Some adults may experience flu-like symptoms, but newborn infants often do not exhibit any symptoms at all. Side effects can develop later in life.
It’s important to note that outdoor cats are most at risk for becoming hosts to these parasites (via The Humane Society). This is due to the fact that outdoor cats are more likely to ingest rodents that carry the infection. Thankfully, the parasite generally makes its way through the feline digestive system within two weeks. In addition, the parasite requires 1-5 days to become infectious. If you are diligent about litter box cleaning, you can help prevent toxoplasmosis by disposing of the parasite. That being said, it’s important to clean your cat’s litter box properly.