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Listeria hysteria, and other lectures I could do without

September 19, 2009

This week or so, I conducted something of an experiment, much to my indoor cat’s dismay. I wanted to see if I could get anyone in this house to change her litter box, but I took a somewhat passive approach, other than telling my husband that it was getting harder for me to change it.

Thing is, I’m not scared of the litter box despite the toxoplasmosis hype. The statistical prevalence of congenital toxoplasmosis is low, I’ve lived with cats and their litter boxes for nearly 40 years, my outdoor cats (who are more at risk for acquiring a parasite) never use the indoor litterboxes, and … get this! I use gloves when I clean the box and wash my hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.

But you wouldn’t believe the shock and horror people react with when they find out that I’ve been cleaning Nina’s litterbox throughout my pregnancy. Or, for that matter, when they find out I don’t studiously avoid brie cheese, which I love. (Read the label, folks: most Brie in grocery stores is pasteurized.) And then there’s my Philadelphia side that absolutely loves a good hoagie. OMG LUNCH MEAT! But again, look at the statistical prevalence of listeria infection. Both toxoplasmosis and listeria can be caught just by packing hamburger patties or other raw meat handling. But I have this nifty weapon I use meticulously: Soap and Water.

But more than anything, I feel an inner resentment when people lecture me about the litterbox–and it’s something I’ve blogged about before, although I’m not inclined to dig up the links right now. Because unless you’re going to foster my cat for the rest of my pregnancy (and at this point, it’s moot) or come do my litterbox housekeeping for me, there’s really just no point. During the part of my pregnancy where toxoplasmosis could have done the most damage, I was living, for the most part, alone.

Good thing they make gloves and soap, right? Oh, and I used a face mask too!


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