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Media statement: Cats and tuberculosis

08 July 2013
Media statement: Cats and tuberculosis Following recent media coverage about cats and tuberculosis (TB), Cats Protection wishes to stress that there have been no documented cases of feline infection causing TB disease in humans, though there are rare cases of cats having TB transmitted to them by infected people.

Many cats which have Mycobacterial infections have spontaneously-resolving skin lesions which are not a risk to people. Those cats which do have tuberculous Mycobacteria lesions are most commonly infected by a type of bacteria called Mycobacteria microti, which is caught from voles and is incredibly rare in people. Defra report positive culture results for Mycobacterium bovis in only 9 cats in the UK in 2012 – data from the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency TB culture database.

Cat owners should always seek veterinary advice if their cat is unwell, has a lump or a wound – but in 99% of such cases, the issue will not be due to any type of Mycobacterial infection, and rarer still to be caused by a type of Mycobacteria that can infect people.

Cats Protection urges any members of the public concerned by recent reports to read The Cat Group policy statement on ‘Mycobacterial disease in cats and man in the UK,’ found at www.thecatgroup.org.uk The Cat Group is a group of professional organisations dedicated to the welfare of cats and includes Cats Protection, The International Society of Feline Medicine, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and other animal welfare organisations.

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For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911 or email media.office@cats.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps over 218,000 unwanted cats each year through a national network of 257 volunteer-run branches and 30 adoption centres.

2. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). The charity’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

3. Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.

4. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk