• Open Access

Prevalence of Enteric Zoonotic Agents in Cats less than 1 Year Old in Central New York State


Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Section of Epidemiology, S1 057 Schurman Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; e-mail: jmsl5@cornell.edu.


A prevalence study of several enteric zoonotic bacterial and parasitic infections was conducted in 263 fecal samples from cats that were between 1 and 12 months old, and that were in humane shelters (n = 149) or were presented to primary-care veterinarians (n = 114). Of these samples, 2 (0.8%) were positive for Campylobacter, 2 (0.8%) were positive for Salmonella, and 10 (3.8%) were positive for Cryptosporidium, confirming that these zoonotic agents are relatively rare in cats. Toxocara cati (33.0%) and Giardia (7.3%) were found more commonly. At least 1 zoonotic agent was detected in 105 samples (40.7%). Our results suggest that clinical signs such as diarrhea are not reliable predictors of whether a cat is actively shedding enteric organisms. Therefore, the decision to test a newly adopted cat should be based on the potential risks to the client rather than on the cat's clinical presentation. The high prevalence of T. cati confirms that comprehensive testing or treatment for ascarids is warranted in newly adopted kittens.