[MARMAM] Cat litter killing whales, dolphins, porpoises

William Rossiter rossiter at csiwhalesalive.org
Sat Sep 1 06:04:55 PDT 2007

Cat litter killing whales, dolphins, porpoises

Posted under <http://divinginmalaysia.com/category/science 

Pet owners who flush used cat litter down the lavatory may be responsible
for the deaths of whales, dolphins and porpoises around Britain's coast,
according to academics and public health experts.

<http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/aug/30/3>>They have found
evidence of a common parasite in dead marine mammals and say family cats
could be be the unwitting source. Cats are essential to the life cycle of
toxoplasma gondii, which can infect most mammals and birds but only as part
of the food chain.

The possible link to dolphin deaths has been raised by staff from Swansea
and Glamorgan universities and the National Public Health Service for Wales
in a letter to the Veterinary Record. They say that in California concern
that cat faeces have contributed to sea otter deaths has led to disposal
warnings on bags of cat litter. But little is known about infection in
marine species around Britain.

Blood samples from dead stranded cetaceans revealed infection in one in 70
harbour porpoises, in six of 21 common dolphins and in the only hump-backed
whale tested. Nearly one in eight Swansea University and health service
employees admitted flushing cat litter away.
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