Scientists are warning people to stop cuddling their kittens as it can kill you! That’s right, the most adorable animals on the planet – one of the most enjoyable things in life – can actually put you six feet underground.
The pretty alarming information has come straight from doctors at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, who completed a survey of the cat-borne bacterial disease Cat Scratch Fever.
Rather interestingly, the large-scale report found that the dangers surrounding the disease are actually far more serious than they had previously thought.
The research showed that people shouldn’t get too close to their cats as they could contain a rare bacteria in their mouths called Capnocytophaga canimorsus.
This strain of bacteria can cause infection, fever, pustules and in some cases complications – due to illness from the bacteria – can cause death.
Researchers said brain swelling and heart infections are also some of the extreme side effects of contracting the disease and unfortunately for cat lovers, kittens are the worst at harbouring the bacteria.
The researchers estimated that each year, 12,000 outpatients in the US are given a cat scratch fever diagnosis and 500 inpatients are hospitalised due to contracting the disease from their pets.
For obvious reasons, cat scratch disease was also most common amongst children between the ages of five and nine.
Dr. Christina Nelson of the CDC said: “The scope and impact of the disease is a little bit larger than we thought,
“Cat-scratch is preventable. If we can identify the populations at risk and the patterns of disease, we can focus on the prevention efforts.”
Doctors recommend that pet owners do not kiss their cats or kittens and wash their hands as often as possible after touching them.