Pets can carry zoonotic parasites even if they’re indoor pets and are kept clean.
Videos of pet owners sharing a meal with their furkids are cute, but it is a risky act and should not be emulated at all.
Recently, Malaysian actress Nabila Huda posted a Facebook Reel showing her sharing a bowl of cereal with her pet cat.
Her cat could be seen licking the milk in the bowl while Nabila ate her milk and cereal. At first glance, they shared an adorable and harmless moment.
While Nabila is reportedly fine, some netizens advised others not to do the same with their pets as it can be potentially dangerous to human health if we’re not careful.
However, do their worries hold merit? We’ll find out below.
Why you shouldn’t share food with your cat or dog
Long story short, your pets might be kept clean but they still stand a chance of harbouring zoonotic organisms that can lead to diseases in humans.
While our bodies have immune systems that are adept at keeping some zoonotic diseases at bay, it’s not worth the risk when falling ill is totally preventable.
For example, dogs have been known to spread Haemophilus aphrophilus to people by licking, which causes brain abscesses and heart inflammation. However, if the internal parasites are ingested by humans, they can cause serious medical issues when they reach our vital organs.
When it comes to cats, there might be faeces in their mouths since cats self-groom themselves. Zoonotic parasites in their faeces might transfer to your mouth if you share food with your cat.
Some of the diseases you can contract from your cat are toxoplasmosis, roundworms, salmonellosis, and giardiasis. Yes, it’s said contracting diseases from cats is a rare occurrence but it doesn’t mean you should take the chance. Take a chance on something more worthwhile XD
There are also some misconceptions about the cleanliness of a cat’s or a dog’s mouth. There is a popular belief that a cat’s mouth is more hygienic than a human’s but it’s not so clear cut.
The bacteria in a cat’s mouth are indeed more or less the same as the ones in our mouths. However, a lot of us seem to overlook the type of bacteria in a cat’s mouth.
Kelly Reynolds, a germ expert and associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona, told Buzzfeed News that mixing bacteria between people and animals can throw off the delicate balance of good bacterial flora in our mouths that help us keep it healthy.
When the good bacterial balance in our mouth tips, we can find ourselves falling ill from something preventable all this time. Why do that to yourself, habibi!?
In conclusion, you can technically share food with your pets. It’s relatively safe to share food with your pets indirectly by feeding them in another bowl or utensil separate from yours.