Q: Is it safe to change my cat's litter now that I'm pregnant?

A: You're better off leaving this chore for someone else now. The problem with cleaning the kitty litter is that it can be contaminated with toxoplasma, a parasite found in cat poop. Toxoplasmosis usually causes mild flu-like symptoms in adults, but can lead to serious health problems for your unborn baby, including eye infections and vision problems, as well as brain, liver, and spleen damage. You can also be infected in your yard if your cat goes there to relieve himself. So if you're planning to garden while you're pregnant, wear waterproof gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward. If you're concerned about being a cat owner now that you're pregnant, know that there's no need to put him up for adoption just because you're expecting -- just stay away from his litter box and, to be safe, scrub your hands well after snuggling with him. In fact, if you've been cleaning up after your kitty for a while now, you may actually be immune to toxoplasmosis (your doctor can tell for sure with a simple blood test). Plus, if your pet is more of an indoor cat, he's probably not carrying the disease anyway.

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