So we recently had sewer backup in our basement. It happened from the surge from outside and was not something we could have prevented or controlled. By the time we got back home and discovered it, our two cats had paws covered in sewage.

I am concerned that they tried to lick themselves in effort to clean, and worried about them acquiring possible infection or anything else. Are there any preventive measures that I can take, like ask vet for antibiotics or anything else?

3 Answers 3


No, do not use unnecessary antibiotics!

Unless your cat is ill - then you should go to your vet with it - then take the steps to cure.

Do NOT use antibiotics as a precautionary measure in pets, or even people! I do understand you do care a lot. But improper use of antibiotics is very dangerous. Why? Antibiotic resistance. That is one very dangerous thing.


I think it is best to wait and see, keep an eye on your cats to see if any illness is developing and if it is, take the cats to your vet.

Remember, cats walk on the ground and they can get diseases from this too, but they do not often get ill from this (I am talking about outdoor/indoor cats).

Cats hunt and they do not often get ill from eating their prey.

For me, worms and ticks do not count as illness.

I do understand you are concerned and it is a bad situation to have sewer flooding the place, and I really hope your cats are well after being exposed to all this bacteria and viruses.


You should definitely clean your cats as best you can. A bath with soap specially formulated for cats is desirable. Wear thick kitchen-style rubber gloves and message and clean their paws thoroughly. If you are not adept at this, consider hiring a professional pet groomer. Make sure you inform the groomer that the cat was exposed to human sewage, and they they should give extra attention to the cats' paws.

It is difficult to say exactly how harmful human sewage is to cats, but human sewage is definitely harmful to humans. You do not want kitty tracking sewage around the house or scratching someone and thereby inoculating them with sewage bacteria.

In general, cats do not get human diseases and vice versa, but there are rare and serious exceptions. So for the next week keep an eye on your cats for signs of infection such as lethargy or loss of apatite. Take them to the vet if you see any symptoms.

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