Scientists recently found that the parasite Toxoplasmosis Gondii (TG), commonly found in cat feces, is making its way to the sea otters’ habitat and causing harm to the endangered species. If you live in a coastal community scientists urge you not to flush cat feces or used flushable cat litter down toilets or drains.
Cats are the only animals that shed TG through their feces (the same reason why pregnant women should never change the litter box). Since the egg-stage of TG is strong enough to withstand processing in sewage treatment plants, it can pose a threat to sea otters residing near freshwater outflows. Researchers in coastal communities have also called for cat owners to keep their cats indoors. Keeping cats indoors reduces the chance of spreading the disease and indoor cats are also less likely to get the disease by eating infected birds or rodents.
The story has made national news appearing in Time Magazine, the BBC News and many online forums. To help protect the sea otters California has already passed a Bill requiring all cat litter packaging include a statement discouraging flushing cat feces in toilets and drains. But it’s still not enough! We need to educate our friends and neighbors who own cats. If you would like more information visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium online. They have great information and live web cameras of the otters. The aquarium is taking donations to help fund their effort to educate the public.
On a Much Lighter Note: A co-worker sent me a link today to this great blog, Daily Kitten. I thought all you cat lovers out there would really enjoy it. Everyday at 3:07pm a new cute cat picture is posted for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!