Woman Goes Blind in One Eye After Cat Licks Her

Illustration for article titled Woman Goes Blind in One Eye After Cat Licks Her

An Ohio woman woke up one day with the sight in her left eye completely gone. For about a month, doctors were unable to diagnose Janese Walters’ sudden vision problem. It wasn’t until she mentioned she had a cat that they figured out what was wrong. Walters had acquired a bacterial infection called cat-scratch disease, also known as the old-timey sounding, “cat-scratch fever.” It’s not just the name of a Ted Nugent song, it’s real.


The bacteria can be passed along by cats and kittens through their saliva and fur. 40% of felines carry it. While the bacteria is not at all harmful to the cats, it can cause serious health problems for us humans, such as liver issues and even meningitis, Dr. Kris Brickman of University of Toledo told WTOL. People with weak immune systems have a higher risk of getting the disease. If you’re worried about getting cat-scratch fever, luckily you don’t have to give your furry friend the boot. Wash your hands after playing with your kitty, try not to get bit and don’t let your cat lick your...open wounds.

“I’m just lucky it didn’t transfer to my other eye,” Walters said.

Image via Shutterstock.

Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.



I ran a Cat Shelter for twelve years. This infection is very rarely contracted and when it is, it tends to be by people with compromised immune systems.

Articles like this make people needlessly fearful.

Yes, it’s wise if one is pregnant to have someone else change the box, etc, but merely as a precaution..again the rate of infection is very low.

I hate when people make a deal of these rare occurrences. Far too many people left heartbroken kitties with us because they were “thinking of getting pregnant” or were pregnant, or because they had new babies and the pediatrician had told them to do this. ( even if a child is a bit allergic to a pet at birth, as I was, the immune system boots up accordingly and in fact needs things to stimulate it to do this).

I know this is discussed somewhat in the article but I want to emphasize the rarity of this really happening. I’ve dealt with literally thousands of cats; domestic , feral, sick and healthy and not only did I never contract toxoplasmosis, but neither did any of the many volunteers I worked with.. and we were on the front lines, up to our asses in cats and often did not have the luxury of washing our hands and all the other rigamarole suggested.