Monday 26 February 2024

Mail Online continues to scaremonger about pet cats being a "major harborer of deadly diseases"

NEWS AND OPINION: I'm irritated. The Mail Online has published yet another article also by their deputy health editor in America, Alexa Lardieri, in which she exaggerates either deliberately or carelessly the potential for the domestic cat to carry zoonotic diseases which can be transferred to people. 

In her headline she says that the pet cat is a "major harbourer of deadly diseases". The phrase "major harbourer" is highly misleading. It is irresponsible. It is likely to lead to many cat owners questioning whether they should continue to own a cat. 

The domestic cat is not a major harborer of zoonotic diseases. It does carry some zoonotic diseases but we know they are rarely transferred or are rarely serious otherwise there wouldn't be hundreds of millions of domestic cats around the globe. And relative to humans spreading disease to other humans, the domestic cat is in a minor league. There is no comparison. That's because nearly all diseases affecting cats cannot be transmitted to people.

What she has written in the Mail Online might lead to cats being surrendered to animal shelters where they might be euthanised despite being healthy.

Two more examples of Mail Online's misleading, clickbait articles that harm the cat:
This woman is dangerous for the domestic cat. She is referring to the recent Oregon bubonic plague case - an incredibly rare case - in which it was assessed that a resident was hospitalised with the disease having got it from a cat.

Back in the 1300s in England it was a deadly disease killing many thousands but today it can be cured with antibiotics which weren't available back in the day. It is no longer a deadly disease but Alexa likes to use click bait tactics to get more hits to her newspaper in scaremongering and giving the impression that the domestic cat is wandering around the place spreading deadly diseases to residents.

This is entirely incorrect and as I mentioned, irresponsible. She is also referred to recent 'Alaskapox' death. This is another extremely rare infection which occurs as you can guess in Alaska. It is a viral disease and in this case an elderly man died after contracting it.

The experts say that it appears to be zoonotic and it appears to be circulating across Alaska's mammals with occasional transmission to humans. Notice that it is carried by "mammals" meaning other animals as well as possibly and perhaps rarely the domestic cat.

It's mainly found in small mammals including voles and shrews but sometimes cats as well and over the past nine years seven people in Alaska have been infected by it. It appears that, rarely, a domestic cat contracts the disease when bumping into or preying upon a small mammal that has the disease.

Nearly all of the people who contracted it had mild illnesses which resolved on their own after a few weeks without treatment. The symptoms include bumps or pustules on the skin and joint or muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes.

Let's be sensible, please. It is pretty clear to me that Alexa Lardieri doesn't like cats. She wants cats to be kept indoors all the time and it appears that she has an agenda to promote. Her writing is not neutral or unbiased. To me, she is not a good reporter.

I hope people think about what she's saying, do their own research and find out as I have that she is exaggerating and scaremongering.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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