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Humans catch TB from pet cats in 'world first'

Health officials investigated a TB outbreak in nine cats in Berkshire and Hampshire.
Health officials investigated a TB outbreak in nine cats in Berkshire and Hampshire. Credit: Arno Burgi/DPA

Two people have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with a cat in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, officials have said.

An outbreak in nine cats was investigated in Berkshire and Hampshire last year by Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboritaries Agency (AHVLA).

PHE said it had offered screening to 39 people identified as having had contact with the infected cats, of which 24 accepted.

Two people were found to have active TB, while two others had latent TB - meaning they had been exposed to the disease at some point but did not have an active infection.

The infections were the result of infection with a bacteria known as Mycobacterium bovis, which causes TB in cattle (known as bovine TB) and in other animals.

PHE said there there have been no further cases of TB in cats reported in Berkshire or Hampshire since March 2013 and said it believed the risk of transmission from cats to humans was "very low".

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RSPCA appeals for calm after six 'cat beheadings'

The RSPCA has advised cat owners to remain calm following the apparent 'beheadings' of six cats in two weeks in Kent.

The RSPCA said cat owners should remain calm Credit: PA

A warning about the incidents in the Quinton area of Kent was posted the local site The Gossip Board - Sittingbourne, Kent Online reported.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "These deaths must be a very upsetting for the cats’ owners.

“However, we want to reassure pet owners that thankfully acts of deliberate violence against dead cats are rare and thorough research has shown that these kind of injuries are caused by wildlife after death and due to the small teeth it leaves a very clean wound.

“This would not even be apparent to a vet without an in-depth post mortem.”

The paper reported that concerns were also raised after two cats in the nearby Milton area were found covered in a glue-like substance, while another was found with its fur shaved.

Pets ban for man filmed bouncing cat like yo-yo

A man has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after he was filmed bouncing a cat up and down like a yo-yo.

Matthew Coffin, 27, was recorded abusing one-year-old Daisy the cat by his friends at his flat in Southampton.

RSPCA inspector Penny Baker said: "The 10 year ban handed down by the court shows how seriously they viewed these offences.

"Daisy was less than a year old at the time and didn't weigh much. If he had done that when she was older and heavier then he could have caused serious damage to her spine."

Mr Coffin admitted to a magistrates' court that he had been showing off.

Burglar steals £112,000 to feed 120 cats

A burglar made off with haul worth £112,000 over a year long spree to feed 120 cats a gourmet diet, police in Japan said. Mamoru Demizu, 48, is suspected of breaking into houses 32 times to steal cash and jewels.

A Japanese man went on a year long burgling spree. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

He told officers that he stole for money to feed scores of his feline friends, spending up to 25,000 yen (£148) a day, police said.

"He said he felt happiest when he rubbed his cheek against cats," the officer said.

According to the AFP news agency, police said unemployed Demizu kept one animal at his home in Izumi city, western Japan.

He kept around 20 in a nearby warehouse, while feeding 100 more strays that lived in the neighbourhood.

New York subway closes for kitten search

A catastrophe was averted on the New York subway when the service was shut down so that two kittens who had wandered onto the tracks could be rescued.

Commuters using the Q and B lines in Brooklyn at around 11am on Thursday faced two-hour delays, which were initially explained as "ongoing NYPD activity".

It transpired that train workers were on the tracks looking for the kittens and trying to coax them to safety with food, the New York Times reported.

Subway staff disabled tracks to prevent two kittens being electrocuted. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA

Staff had been alerted to the creatures' predicament by their owner, who had managed to lose the pets at Church Avenue station during a subway ride.

The service was resumed just after 1pm following the "escape" of the felines, who were eventually found safe and well yesterday evening, although possibly with just eight lives remaining.

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Charity: Research could lead to dog allergy treatment

The Charity Allergy UK have said the research into cat allergies could be a "big step forward" in understanding allergic reactions, even suggesting the findings could lead to treatments for dog allergies.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that a common cause of reactions is found in cat allergen.

Allergy UK's Director of Clinical Services Maureen Jenkins said:

This new information identifying the specific receptor interaction in the immune system could pave the way for treatments for those with persistent disease triggered by cat allergen and, in the future, potentially dog and house dust mite allergen.

– Maureen Jenkins, Allergy UK

Read: New research reveals how cat allergies are triggered

New research reveals how cat allergies are triggered

Cats are among the most common pet allergies. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Scientists have discovered how allergic reactions to cats are sparked, leading to new hopes of a preventative treatment.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge discovered that the common cause of reactions is found in cat allergen, which triggers a large immune response in sufferers including coughing, wheezing and sneezing.

Lead author of the research Dr Clare Bryant said she hoped the research would "lead to new and improved treatments for cat and possibly dog allergy sufferers."

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