Has this happened to you. Your Cat / Dog are outside playing, then come in, and a few days later you wind up itchy with poison Ivy or Oak. Now you are trying to figure out how you got this, since you haven't been near the woods, well, guess what - your pets can carry the oils on their fur, and it transfers to you. Read on:
I saw a friend of mine yesterday and they horrified me--their arms were just a sight. They were COVERED in what looked like welts from poison oak or ivy. “What happened?” I asked, shocked. “Oh Jon,” he said, “you won't believe it. I think I got it from the cat. Can that even happen?” He hadn't been outside in the woods lately, but he had been petting and hugging his cat while wearing a short-sleeved shirt. I had to inform him that he likely had a nasty case of poison ivy, and was in for quite a lot of discomfort.
First, for those of you that don't know – what is poison ivy or oak?
Poison oak and poison ivy belong to a group of plants called toxicodendron. This group contains many different species of plants all over the world which cause skin irritation. An oil resin called urushiol, found in the plant sap, is the source of all the itching and scratching that result from contact with these plants. Animals are quite resistant to the effects of urushiol but can easily transmit the toxin to a person. It takes only brief contact with the plant for pets to pick up urushiol on their fur. The sticky resin is difficult to remove and can remain active long after the initial contact with the plant.