Infected Cats Are Trying to Kill Adorable Sea Otters With Their Fecal Matter

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Nervously nibbles paw nails, wishes he had Sea Puppy Purell. Photo: Robert Giroux/Getty Images

Despite federal protections, the results of a recent survey show that the overall population of California sea otters has declined 4 percent since 2009, and the number of sea otter pups (sweet, furry pups!!!!) is declining at 11 percent. Tim Tinker, the lead scientist in the survey, tells Wired that the decline is due to a combination of natural and man-made factors, including diseases from terrestrial sources. Wired elaborates: "'One of those diseases is Toxoplasma gondii, which is spread to otters when the fecal matter of infected cats gets washed out to sea,' says Tinker, 'but there are other diseases as well.'" Even land-dwelling humans and their offspring are not immune to the threat of infected feline excrement. [Wired]