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Hello & Help

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Hello & Help

Post  bonnie0128 on 8/17/2010, 11:24 am

Hello Everyone! I've been MIA since spring but it looks like you guys have kept plenty busy around here! My gardens aren't looking so great this year but I'm still harvesting enough at this point (5 lbs of tomatoes this morning!). My plants all look like they are dieing. Anyway - I'll first share the news of why I've been so busy - we're expecting our second child and I'm just getting over the first trimester stomach aches and tiredness. It was all I could do to water my gardens every day! I'm due Feb 15!

Now for the "help" part...I have one bed that I had great plans for...but then the neighbor's cat used it as his personal litter box - and before I could clean it out and put chicken wire over it, I found out I was pregnant (and can't work in the dirt due to possible toxins that are harmful to the baby). But, before this happened, I planted two beefsteak tomato plants (Black Krim and Pineapple) in the bed. They have grown like crazy - they've actually gone kinda wild - and have many fruits on them. Here's the question...does anyone know if it is safe to eat these tomatoes since the cat contaminated the bed (and may have continued to do so)? On one hand I think about large farms and the many animals that likely leave their waste behind as they roam about. But on the other hand, our SFGs are such a concentrated space (and the dirt is very shallow in this bed as I was planning to add more). The Black Krims are just about ripe (one has already rotted). Any ideas????

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Wyldflower on 8/17/2010, 12:33 pm

when in doubt, always ask your doctor....

But I think you'd be okay to eat fruits of those plants. If I'm not mistaken, the toxins associated with cleaning out litter boxes, etc, are airborne.

Congratulations on the new little one on the way!

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  camprn on 8/17/2010, 1:00 pm

Bonnie, have you ever had cats as pets before? If you have there is a good possibility that you may have immunity to the toxoplasmosis causing parasite. A simple blood test can provide an indication of immunity. I agree with Wyld, a consult with your OB, but I think that you can safely eat the vegetables, after washing. here is some more info: from http://www.paternityangel.com/Articles_zone/toxo/ToxoIntro.htm
~~~~~~~~~
There is no vaccine to prevent infection, however a few simple rules can help to avoid contact with the parasite if immunity is not present in the mother's body. The following steps can just about eliminate the risks of infection.
Avoid eating raw or rare (undercooked) meats.
Wash all fruits & vegetables thoroughly.
Wash hands well after contact with food, soil or cats.
Don't eat raw eggs or drink untreated milk.
Properly clean all work surfaces & utensils before & after food preparation.
Pregnant women should avoid changing the cat litter.
The cat litter should be regularly disinfected in boiling water.
Use gloves when gardening & wash well afterwards.
Cover up children's sand pits to keep the cats away.
Keep flies & cockroaches out of the house (but watch out that you don't breath in the chemicals).
If you are a farmer, avoid the sheep during lambing season.

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Chopper on 8/17/2010, 7:28 pm

@camprn wrote:
The cat litter should be regularly disinfected in boiling water.

All good advice but this one killed me! LOL. Yeah. I am going to reuse soiled cat litter and boil it in between usings!!! Yup! That'll happen.

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Safe tomatoes?

Post  ander217 on 8/17/2010, 8:01 pm

Bonnie, I wouldn't do it. If you're concerned enough to ask us, I'd say don't take the chance and then you won't have to worry about it. You can always plant more tomatoes next year.

Best wishes for you and your family. Mid-February is a great time to be born - say around the 17th. Very Happy



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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Aub on 8/17/2010, 8:43 pm

When I was pregnant with my twins we got a cat. My Dr said not to mess with the litter box and not even to touch the cat because of the "ick" that they can have. When I went to the vet and asked her about it she said it really is a very rare thing. And you gotta figure the vet is messing with cats way more than anyone else, and her babies have all been perfect.

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  moosedroppings on 8/17/2010, 8:46 pm

I can't resist...is the water you boil the litter in good for the garden?

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  chocolatepop on 8/17/2010, 9:59 pm

I dont think the parasite can pass from soil to fruit. Can you call and ask? I would just make sure to wash really well.

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Odd Duck on 8/18/2010, 3:23 pm

I'm sure Camprn meant to say clean the litter BOX with boiling water.

It is far easier to clean with bleach (although certainly not organic) and boiling water would work.


Camprn is exactly correct in all she says as far as exposure risks, how to avoid, etc. The parasite is "Toxoplasma" and infection can cause severe problems to the baby at certain stages in development. You absolutely can be tested to see if you have a protective titer against this parasite. Even if you do, I would still recommend that you NOT clean the litter box.

There is no reason why you can't eat the tomatoes from that box after a thorough washing, however, I would not recommend that you even consider eating any raw root vegetables from that box. I would not recommend that you even consider messing about in the soil of that box while you are pregnant and borderline for any of the boxes if there's any chance a cat has "planted" anything for you.


For anyone out there with cats and potentially pregnant:

If you have a protective titer, the risk to your baby is quite low, but ANY exposure is just not worth it. If you DON'T have a protective titer, don't panic. It's not worth getting rid of your cat, just be extra safe about sanitation ANYWHERE your (or anyone else's cat) might have been. If your cat sits on the counter, you need to prevent access or disinfect before you touch the counter, other furniture, etc. There is certainly a chance that you may already have a protective titer if you've had cats for years, particularly if you've had cats that go outside.

Follow the links, do some research, ask your OBGyn!!! Don't take ANY risks until you know if your titer is high enough to protect you and your baby!

Unfortunately, testing your cat's titer only tells you if your cat has been exposed, it does not tell you if your cat is shedding parasite cysts. You must get tested!

Sharon Hollars, DVM

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  moosedroppings on 8/18/2010, 4:43 pm

I apologize if my stupid joke offended anyone. I didn't mean to imply that Cmprn said anything wrong...just that it came out wrong. I am sorry.

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  chocolatepop on 8/18/2010, 4:52 pm

moose no offense was taken I am sure! I actually chuckled at the idea of scooping litter and boiling it, then dumping the water in the soil like a compost tea!

I've milked the hubby cleaning the litter box and my kid is 3 Twisted Evil

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Chopper on 8/18/2010, 4:56 pm

I think if we all lay low and keep quiet about it, none of us girls ever need empty a litter box again....

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Odd Duck on 8/18/2010, 6:23 pm

@moosedroppings wrote:I apologize if my stupid joke offended anyone. I didn't mean to imply that Cmprn said anything wrong...just that it came out wrong. I am sorry.

I very much doubt she took offense, she just doesn't seem the type! And I certainly didn't take offense, just trying to clarify and didn't do an appropriate smiley to show I wasn't being too serious.

Then I launched into the whole lecture about toxo, so I'm sure I came across WAY too serious! I get a little lecturey/preachy when I'm trying to impart info. I really need to work on my emoticon insertions!

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  moosedroppings on 8/18/2010, 6:59 pm

I know, I just didn't want anyone to feel like I was being too much of a smart bum. I have been known to say the wrong thing not meaning to.

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Megan on 8/18/2010, 8:08 pm

Odd Duck, I am really glad you shared that with us. Knowledge is power! Very Happy

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Blackrose on 8/18/2010, 8:22 pm

@chocolatepop wrote:I've milked the hubby cleaning the litter box and my kid is 3 Twisted Evil

Me too! I haven't cleaned a litter box in over 4 years! Somehow I convinced him to feed my one cat her canned food too. That stuff makes me gag even when I'm not pregnant.

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  camprn on 8/18/2010, 10:28 pm

@moosedroppings wrote:I apologize if my stupid joke offended anyone. I didn't mean to imply that Cmprn said anything wrong...just that it came out wrong. I am sorry.
LOL No worries, it was an embarrassingly glaring typo. Embarassed

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Re: Hello & Help

Post  Chopper on 8/19/2010, 1:03 am

I have heard of frugal, but boiling the cat litter took the cake. Very Happy

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Re: Hello & Help

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