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  • Toxoplasmas gondii is a single-celled organism that has the cat as its primary host.
  • Cats can be infected by catching prey.
  • Humans can be infected by eating and handling raw or undercooked meat, or by not washing their hands after gardening.
  • An infected cat will shed oocysts in its feces.
  • These oocysts can be picked up by another cat or by a human.
  • In most people, an infection will have little effect, but for those with reduced immunity it can be serious.
  • Toxoplasmosis can seriously affect an unborn baby.
  • Therefore, pregnant women should not change cat litter.
  • Fortunately, if the cat litter is changed daily, there is little chance for the oocysts to be come infective, thereby greatly reducing any risk of infection.
  • Outside of warm climates, most human infections occur through undercooked meat rather than from feces in soil or litter.

Source: Understanding Cats -- Their History, Nature and Behavior, by Roger Tabor, The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, NY, 1995, pp. 123-124.