Woman’s Blindness Blamed On Cat Lick
Doctors at the University of Toledo told the Ohio woman her cat caused her to become blind in one eye.
“Anything that is exposed to the cat’s mouth, including if you have a little scratch that the cat licks—that’s how you can get it,” says Dr. Kris Brickman. A cat also can pass it along through its fur, or if it bites or scratches hard enough to break the skin. It’s extremely rare for the bacterial infection to cause blindness, though people with weak immune systems are more prone to serious complications, explains a CDC fact sheet. More typically, those affected come down with a headache or fever.
“I woke up one day and I couldn’t see out of my left eye,” Janese Walters tells the Toledo TV station. “I looked in the mirror and I thought I had pink eye or something.” Brickman says the eyes are vulnerable because of the way the infection affects blood vessels. The best safeguard is to wash thoroughly after playing with your cat—especially if it’s a kitten—and to immediately clean any bites or scratches.