This happens more than I even want to admit to myself
June 11, 2016 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Caught my cat lapping from my glass. I sigh, grab myself another glass of water and continue about my business. But then...

... I forget my glass somewhere and accidentally drink from the cat-tainted glass. Then I sit and wonder if I'm going to be sick or die.

Sources online are conflicting. Fellow curious meFi cat owners: has this happened to you and are you sick... or dead?

*cats are indoors-only and litter is changed frequently.
**this is a Siamese and for all I know she's also been into the liquor. She's smart. Her name is Ripley.
posted by Dressed to Kill to Pets & Animals (51 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I feed the cats bits of blue cheese or marmite or whatever by letting them lick it from my fingers. I don’t wash the finger afterwards. I am not dead yet.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 7:20 AM on June 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

I've shared ice cream, yogurt, cereal milk, and water with various cats. And yet I've endured.
posted by xyzzy at 7:20 AM on June 11, 2016 [8 favorites]

To be fair, your pool of answers are self-selected. Any dead Mefi cat owners will not be replying here
posted by moiraine at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2016 [233 favorites]

I've eaten food prepared on counters where cats have walked with their filthy litter-touching feet and have not died yet. The immune system is a wonderful thing.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

Perhaps when you go to get another glass of water you could take the cat-lapped one to the sink and dump it out?
posted by phunniemee at 7:28 AM on June 11, 2016 [11 favorites]

At this point I just assume that all my glasses of water get a tongue-bath from my cat while I'm not looking. Still alive, still doin' my thing.
posted by ourobouros at 7:29 AM on June 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'm willing to expand the pool to anecdotes of people you know that have died from cat related poisoning.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:31 AM on June 11, 2016 [37 favorites]

Hmm ... well ... I don't have any of those but I do know someone who had a computer get destroyed when her cat accidentally (?) tipped over a glass of water on the keyboard while drinking out of it. She was really mad for a while. Does that count?
posted by ourobouros at 7:32 AM on June 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

Give in. When you make yourself a glass, make a glass of water for the cat. Put it on the floor. Cat will feel that she is finally receiving the respect she deserves, while you will have a chance to drink your drink mostly unmolested (although you have to accept that Your Glass will always be more fascinating; that's how cats work). Mine preferred the taste of filtered water with some chipped ice. It seems to have worked: I am still alive.
posted by notquitemaryann at 7:35 AM on June 11, 2016 [23 favorites]

There are people on the planet who kiss their dogs. On the mouth. These people have not been filtered out of the gene pool by natural selection. So I think you are safe.
posted by bunderful at 7:38 AM on June 11, 2016 [16 favorites]

When I had cats I regularly smooched them right on the lips. Gross maybe, but you won't die. Probably.
posted by deathpanels at 7:39 AM on June 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier lived in the decrepit and filthy Grey Gardens with 30 cats until the age of 81. She died from a fall that led to pneumonia and not cat poisoning. Looking up toxoplasmosis it seems that people killed by it were immuno-compromised first. And you don't get that by sharing a glass with a cat but by cleaning the litterbox.
posted by ejs at 7:43 AM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Related to notquitemaryann's answer: I give cats water from small porcelain or glass bowls that are replaced and washed as frequently as water glasses -- daily at least. I also set up a feeding station a few feet off the floor. That way, the cats get water in as-clean-as-mine containers that I don't mind replacing frequently, and I remember to replace them frequently, because they're easy to reach and I see them all the time.

I try to own at least 3-4 of these bowls so there's never a shortage.

I started thinking about this when I had a case of cat chin acne to deal with, and realized that super clean bowls might help.

They're distinct from regular human bowls so the cat doesn't get confused.

That said, the acne cat maintained a fascination for vase water that would not be discouraged. A dangerous hobby for a cat that doesn't like wet feet, but his love went beyond the rational.

IANACK (I am not a cat kisser). At least not on the lips.
posted by amtho at 7:44 AM on June 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

I would be careful about this if you were pregnant or planning to become pregnant (because of toxoplasma gondii), but even there, an indoor-only cat with a clean litter box should be a minimal risk.

But really, it's impossible to be sure unless we get lots of pictures of the cat in question. Purely for scientific purposes, you understand.
posted by firechicago at 7:44 AM on June 11, 2016 [33 favorites]

my cat licks my fingers constantly. i don't always immediately wash them. i am alive.
posted by nadawi at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I do not k ow anyone who has died. Or even gotten sick swapping spit with a cat, and I know lots of crazy cat people.
posted by tippy at 7:58 AM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Previously: Should this be consumed? Cat edition.
posted by sockermom at 8:06 AM on June 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have had cats lick my mouth to wake me up. I woke up then, and continue to do so.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:17 AM on June 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

My jerk cat will only drink water out of a glass. We got her a fountain. She couldn't figure it out. We now leave a glass of water next to her food and another near her bed. It's a good thing she's cute.
posted by kat518 at 8:19 AM on June 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

One consideration: many cats will stick their litter-box paws in the water before drinking it. There, I would not sip.
posted by amtho at 8:22 AM on June 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

My cat sticks her entire jerk head into my glass sometimes. And she has the nerve to not just sit there with her whole head in my glass so I can post pictures on the internet for public shaming. What a jerk. Also, I am pretty sure I am still alive.
posted by bedhead at 8:24 AM on June 11, 2016 [8 favorites]

If you are bitten by a cat (even your healthy indoor only ones) you should monitor it closely as they can cause pretty fast-acting infections. Drinking where they're drinking I wouldn't be worried about. We keep the toilet lids closed to reduce the ick factor (and get new waters frequently).
posted by Phredward at 8:29 AM on June 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

Toxoplasma can only be transmitted from cats to humans through feces. I would not worry about transmission through drinking from the same cup, despite many cats' predilections for bum-licking. Many people who own outdoor cats have already been infected with it anyway.

I'm an ER doctor and I have never seen nor heard of cat poisoning patients via sharing food or drink - as Phredward notes the real danger is when they wound you either through a bite or a scratch. They also have a bad habit of getting underfoot and tripping people, causing traumatic injuries. I would say these are the top cat related injuries that cause significant morbidity.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2016 [28 favorites]

I had to switch my bedside water glass to a sippy cup so they would stop waking me up by spilling it in the middle of the night!
posted by bluesky78987 at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would worry if yours, like mine, is prone to dipping a paw in the water to test it first. I probably drank water without knowing it that was thus tested, and I'm fine.

Have you thought about switching to a water bottle with a lid? The cat will probably knock it off the table instead.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:48 AM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

My cat is the official royal taster. I would be suspicious of any water she wouldn't poke a nose in. She's very good, obviously, since I haven't died once since she assumed her duties.

She does knock over the glasses quite often though, so my cupboard is now filled with plastic stemless wineglasses from Ikea for everyday liquid drinking.

Your cat is probably also trained to be a royal taster - lucky you - but as others have pointed out, we can't tell until we see pictures.
posted by dness2 at 8:49 AM on June 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

Of course: she's the smart one in this pic. Ripley and Louise
posted by Dressed to Kill at 8:56 AM on June 11, 2016 [12 favorites]

You are definitely going to die.
posted by mister pointy at 9:10 AM on June 11, 2016 [23 favorites]

I'm kind of sorry I went to this CDC page. Looks like it's theoretically possible to get sick from a cat, though I don't personally know of anyone who has (except from a bite - cat bites should always be taken seriously - and that person was fine after a trip to the ER).

But let's say that you did get sick from drinking the same water. You'd get sick. You'd see your doctor, right? You'd be treated. I haven't seen any evidence of sudden death from contact with a cat.

I always keep what I'm drinking out of my cat's reach. Is that possible in your home? I don't even think about it - I just never put a drink down where my cat can get to it. My cat is elderly, but I've been doing this since she was a kitten trying to get into everything.
posted by FencingGal at 9:26 AM on June 11, 2016

The cat we call "The Little Bastard" comes to my bed most nights to drape himself across my face while he purrs and licks any of my fingers within reach of his tongue. Eventually, he falls asleep and snores. Some sort of feline mind control may be in play, because I don't usually have the heart to move him, and anyhow, when I wake up to do my 0300 perimeter check he's gone somewhere else to sleep.

Unless spitting cat hairs is harmful, I seem to be okay.
posted by mule98J at 9:27 AM on June 11, 2016

A cat bite is a dangerous thing. It can start growing pus within 12 hours.

For some reason, kissing, licking, and sharing water glasses do not seem to have the same effect.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:31 AM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just watch for wounds in your mouth,etc. Like everyone else said it's mostly infections of cuts you have to watch.

That being said, if you want to (possibly) solve this issue, when you go to have a drink, put out another fancier glass of water somewhere. It might bait them into going for that one and not yours.

Also....sippy cups are your friend.

Godspeed to you and you're very beautiful and stately-looking cats!
posted by InkDrinker at 9:42 AM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I belatedly realized my cat was drinking out of the water glass on my bedside table, too. Still alive. No word on whether my second-hand exposure to mouse germs, gutter water, and car undersides has had any low-grade long term effects. I imagine the dust on my cat's paws includes some motor oil, heavy metals, and whatever makes wood pressure treated, so I now use a water bottle.
posted by slidell at 9:53 AM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

as an aside, due to the increasing annoyance of nerve related problems in my arms, i switched from open cups and glasses for water around the house to a series of closeable plastic gym bottles that are in the fridge at all times full of nice cold water. pop open, drink, and close. if i drop it or knock it over it's no mess and no broken glass. and if there was a sneaky kitty trying to cram their whole kitty snoot down the spout they would have a very difficult time. i throw them all in the dishwasher at the end of the week.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:12 AM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

"What is it about cats that make their bite wounds so prone to infection? Their teeth are sharp and make relatively deep puncture wounds. When the bite is on the hand (and other research has shown that up to 85 percent of cat bites occur on the hand or wrist), the puncture may easily pierce a joint or the membrane sheath around a tendon. Joints and tendons have closed spaces, and are thus great growing places for bacteria. And the mouths of cats (like those of dogs — and of humans, for that matter) are home to many types of bacteria."

TL;DR cat bites are dangerous because their sharp little needle teeth inject normal mouth bacteria deep into your flesh, not because cats have unusually filthy mouths.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:33 AM on June 11, 2016 [9 favorites]

I drink out of cat tainted glasses all the time. I've never even gotten cat scratch fever!!!
posted by supermedusa at 10:38 AM on June 11, 2016

Vet-in-training daughter says you're fine AND Ripley may be doing this because:

1. Her water bowl isn't being thoroughly washed daily and it smells funky to her;
2. Cats are dicks.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:42 AM on June 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

My cat drinks from my glasses so I switched to drinking out of mason jars. He can't get his greedy nose in past the narrowed top.

I'm good about hiding meaty and creamy foods from him, but don't take much precaution with other random foods that I wouldn't predict a cat would like.

Then the other day I came back from the kitchen to find the little jerk face-down and licking away in my bowl of baby carrots.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

Every morning, my late lamented Flash would come into my room, stick her nose in my coffee, and say "Bleah!"

Then she would walk out, muttering, "I don't know how you can drink that stuff." As she was leaving, I would take my first sip of coffee.

Of course, I was taking it on faith that she wasn't actually making contact with the coffee on most occasions. Either way, I'm still here.
posted by tel3path at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

So the topic has been answered, but the next time you have a question about said cat (believe me, with a Siamese like that one, you will) please consider titling the post "Ripley - believe it or not....."
posted by mightshould at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

I share all my food and beverages with my cat and even lick her face back when she licks my face.

I haven't died yet although rereading the above sentence it's pretty obvious that toxoplasmosis has completely taken over my brain.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2016 [11 favorites]

My bedside glass of water is in a covered container for the prevention of overnight feline water thievery. My husband's is not. Each morning, all of us wake up equally alive, though honestly the cat's life is preserved mostly because he's cute and not because of any good behavior on his part.
posted by jesourie at 12:32 PM on June 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Cat drinks out of my cup, I usually remember to chuck the water out later and get fresh, but I often don't wash the cup.

I figure after you've cohabited with a cat, let it sleep in your bed, scooped its litter box, for a month or two, you've exchanged all the germs you're likely to exchange.
posted by zadcat at 1:05 PM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cat has his own glasses scattered around the house for his use, water and vessel changed daily. He still wants to drink out of our glasses because there's no pleasing some people/cats and we've drunk the water without issue. Cat scratches and bites get washed immediately and then some hydrogen peroxide, neither is nor the cat seem to have any bad effects.
posted by arcticseal at 9:51 PM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sockermom beat me to the best previous thread about this:

Would you eat it, cat soup edition with bonus "but what if the cat had just killed a mouse with that mouth" follow up. Pretty much everyone said to go ahead and eat it, although the addition of possible mouse-juice changed the equation for some.
posted by MsMolly at 12:11 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cats. Ms Mumkin solved the problem of the cat drinking from her desk/bedside/whatever water by always putting a mint teabag in it. This will not help you if you do not like mildly minty water (or if your cat does), but since we seem to have decided that death is off the table, I mention it as a possible deterrent strategy.
posted by mumkin at 1:13 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

One of mine bit me, hard, in a moment of sheer terror. One of the wounds was from the back teeth, two others were from his fangs. The fang wounds didn't really bleed much. All three wounds were red and swollen within an hour. So... personal experience with the bacteria in a cat's mouth. It's scary stuff.

That said... I regularly share ice cream, peanut butter and other random foods with my cats. I don't share water with them - but I think they don't want my water because they have two fountains with moving, filtered water that I change every other day. Before the fountains, I had trouble with them getting into my drinks.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2016

My cats drink from my water glasses, so I put two on the floor that I refill regularly. Same glasses as I use, but they know those are for them. Like everything else though I've kind of given up on trying to control them in any way, shape or form. You'll be fine. You're probably building up an immunity to whatever cat zombie plague that will eventually take over the planet when we least expect it - you should be thanking your cat for looking out for you!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 8:43 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Khajiit has done nothing! Khajiit is innocent of this crime!
posted by sourcequench at 11:23 AM on June 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

"Bill" was a no-good, cheating, lying, sleeping-with-clients attorney I used to know. His cat was named Bastard. One day Bastard bit Bill on the hand. Bill got a terrible infection and neglected it for three days before he went to the hospital. By that time he had to have IV antibiotics and spend the night (and a whole lot of money) at the hospital. Not that I had schadenfreude or anything. (P.S. Bill is still alive, even after that attempt at murder. Anything less serious than a bite from a cat is unlikely to harm you).
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

We have two cats. The slow honest guile-less one will drink and paw plain water from a glass, but seems to shy away from carbonated water (especially if it has a lime in it). So I drink a lot of carbonated water with lime.

His sister, the smarter and sneakier one, has never been observed doing this.

If you need an excuse to get a SodaStream, I say go for it.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 5:31 PM on June 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

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