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Go Ahead, Kiss Your Pet: 7 Things Dirtier Than Your Cat's Mouth

FlourishAnyway is a kick-butt Cat Lady. If she won the lottery, she would spay/neuter both homeless cats and all the cat haters.

Do cats have clean mouths?

Do cats have clean mouths?

Do Cats Have Clean Mouths?

Aww, come on, Mr. Clean! Everybody needs a little sugar. When you look at your cat's furry face, do you think "parasite potential?" Or do you pucker up and lean in for a good smackeroo?

Yep, cats use their tongues as washcloths. I get that. How else do you expect them to clean their poop shoot? And dogs eat only . . . who knows what. Hey, it happens. But, before you second guess your kissing habit, consider that you're probably already doing some pretty gross things in your everyday life. And you haven't died yet, right?

Here are seven things that are nastier than your cat or dog's mouth—and not nearly as adorable. Go ahead, kiss the kitty! Smooch your pooch! We've got your back.

Adorable Kissing Cat: Not a Gross Thing About This

1. The Kitchen Sponge: Booming With Bacteria

Don't even pretend you're innocent on this one.

The biggest source of germs in the entire house is the kitchen sponge.1 You used it to soak up that raw chicken juice, spot-clean the floor, then wipe up the kitchen table after dinner. (The Health Department will be right over.)

As many as two-thirds of kitchen sponges are contaminated with fecal bacteria, typically through contact with raw meat.2 Although it takes only a few pathogens to make you ill, many sponges contain millions of bacteria and virusesincluding E. coli, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, and Norovirus.

These organisms thrive in warm, damp conditions and can multiply rapidly, with one bacteria cell becoming as many as 8 million within a mere 24 hours.3 And beware if you don't routinely toss that nasty sponge into the microwave or dishwasher. The most common cause of foodborne illness—the Norovirus—can live on a sponge as long as a week.

Feeling queasy yet? If not, consider this: some scientists have suggested that based on the number of germs present, it's probably safer to lick your toilet seat than your kitchen counters.

Instead of doing either, kiss your pet. There are worse ways to get cooties.

My elderly cat Shep has been giving kisses for years. He even tilts his head to the side. Aww, quit yer judgment!

My elderly cat Shep has been giving kisses for years. He even tilts his head to the side. Aww, quit yer judgment!

2. The Bottom of Your Purse: Friend to Fecal Bacteria

When is the last time you cleaned your pocketbook? If you're really honest with yourself, you probably cannot recall.

Purses are notorious carrying cases for contamination, with research indicating that as many as one-third having fecal bacteria on the bottom.4 (Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth a little bit. Yuck!) Germs particularly love leather purses because of their porous surfaces.5

The notion that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's is untrue. But they still want kisses, so go ahead! We won't tell.

The notion that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's is untrue. But they still want kisses, so go ahead! We won't tell.

Reader Poll:

What Are Poop Germs Doing on Purses?

Rather than using the hook on the back of the stall door, ladies often put their purses on the floor of public restrooms. Then, they place those traveling bags of bacteria on desks, kitchen countertops, and other surfaces, cross-contaminating as they go.

However, even if you never sit your purse on the floor, it's still probably pretty gross. That's because poor handwashing practices mean that we're all walking Petri dishes.

One study found that a whopping 95% of people cut corners when hand washing.6 (Men were much worse at handwashing than women.) Examples of "short cuts" include

  • a failure to use soap
  • not washing long enough, and
  • skipping hand washing altogether.

As a consequence of poor hand washing practices, there are often high levels of bacteria on items inside your handbag, as well as purse handles and straps. Hand or face lotions, lipstick, and mascara, for example, frequently come into contact with unclean hands before being returned to the purse. Unclean hands make them breeding grounds for bacteria.

So what's a dirty girl to do?

Cats spend about 15% of their time grooming, which is substantial considering they sleep about 15 hours a day.  Humans carry the least oral flora, followed by dogs, and then cats.

Cats spend about 15% of their time grooming, which is substantial considering they sleep about 15 hours a day. Humans carry the least oral flora, followed by dogs, and then cats.

What You Can Do to Reduce Germs on Your Purse

You can reduce the spread of germs on handbags using the following tips:

  1. never sit your purse on the floor (seriously—that's what those hooks are for!)
  2. avoid touching your face unless you have just washed your hands
  3. use antibacterial wipes to regularly sanitize the bottom of your pocketbook, purse handles, and items you carry, and
  4. practice good hand washing!

In the meantime, go ahead and smooch your pooch. Pucker up for your puddytat. If you're going to catch cooties, you may as well enjoy the experience!

That's Just Gross! Dirty Things You Commonly Touch

Research studies have found that these are some of the nastiest places in your environment. Wouldn't you rather just kiss your pet?

Germiest Places In Your KitchenGermiest Places In Your Hotel RoomGermiest Places In Your OfficeGermiest Places In the Mall

Sponges & dishcloths

Bathroom sinks

Break room sink faucet handles

Food court tables

Sink drain area

Bathroom floors

Microwave & refrigerator door handle

Escalator handrails

Faucet handles

Light switches


Toy stores and gadget shops

Cutting boards

Television remote controls

Water fountain buttons

Fitting rooms

Refrigerator handles

Telephone keypads

Vending machine buttons

Makeup samples

No cooties here!  Just an affectionate dog.

No cooties here! Just an affectionate dog.

What's Growing in Your Wallet?

Especially for those among us who are non-Australians, paper cash has been found to harbor up to 3,000 different types of bacteria, including those causing

  • gastric ulcers
  • pneumonia
  • food poisoning
  • staph infections
  • acne and
  • antibiotic resistance.8

In addition, the flu virus can live on paper money for 17 days. Think about how many times a banknote could change hands during that time, and it's no wonder we suffer regular flu epidemics!

You Can't Say You've Never Touched Drugs

Sadly, bacteria and viruses aren't all that's hitching a ride on paper money. If you've never thought about where your cash has been before it touched your hands, then consider that 90% of circulating dollar bills in the United States contain traces of cocaine.9 Percentages are nearly as high for other countries worldwide.

Unfortunately, sometimes it's not just trace amounts of drugs. Three employees at a Michigan convenience store became sick after they handled money coated with a methamphetamine residue.

Go spend your dirty money on your pet, for health's sake.

Who are you calling "dirty?"

Who are you calling "dirty?"

3. Money: A Motherlode of Microbes

Here's a major cootie alert. Dirty money is not simply cash made through illegal and immoral means. It's a motherlode of microbes, and it's what's in your wallet.

Scientists have studied the cleanliness of banknotes from countries across the globe, and they have found that an average of 26,000 bacteria contaminate paper money.7 Average banknote cleanliness is a function of how long the cash has been in circulation, the numbers of folds and creases it has, and the type of material it is made of.

Research discovered that Swiss francs, Danish krones, and Chinese yuans were among the dirtiest money, while the Australian dollar was by far the cleanest banknote. So are those Aussies simply super clean, or what?

Rather than using cotton paper fiber, Australia produces banknotes using polypropylene polymer, the same material that drinking straws are made from. Germs have a harder time sticking to the material.

Pets: All in the Family

  • 70% of people sign their pet's name to greeting cards10
  • 58% of people include their pets in family or holiday portraits
  • 68% of Americans who own pets have given Fido or Fluffy Christmas gifts.11
  • 17% of all pets have a Halloween costume.
  • Up to 62% of cat owners sleep with their cats.12
  • One in five people say they'd prefer to spend time with animals than humans.13

Yucky Euros, Disgusting Dollars: How Nasty Is Your Cash?

Just leave the cell phone in your pocket.

Just leave the cell phone in your pocket.

4. Telephones: Teeming With Germs

Nasty news flash: your cell phone is filthy. One in six have fecal bacteria on them.14 Hmmm. Any idea where that would come from, my chatty friend?

A survey of American cell phone users found that 75% admitted to not being able to put the device down long enough to use the toilet.15

Yeah, you know who you are ... browsing social networks, texting, and yapping away with friends, business associates, and family while you do your bodily business. (Is anyone truly that busy?)

The study found that while toileting

  • 67% of survey respondents read a text,
  • 63% received calls,
  • 41% initiated phone calls, and
  • 39% surfed the Internet.

Men were more likely to conduct their work while sitting on the throne. Such heinous hygiene habits help explain how approximately 1 in 5 people have dropped their phones in the toilet.

Dirty purrson, you've been caught by the poo patrol. (We already suspected that you protest too much about hygiene!) Set the phone down and give your pet a big kiss.

So what if Fluffy uses her tongue as a washcloth or Fido occasionally eats excrement? Your habits aren't exactly stellar.

If you're like 75% of Americans who take their mobile phone into the bathroom, can you really claim "hygiene" as a legitimate reason for not kissing your pet?  Ewww.

If you're like 75% of Americans who take their mobile phone into the bathroom, can you really claim "hygiene" as a legitimate reason for not kissing your pet? Ewww.

5. Escalator Handrails: Do You Really Want to Know?

Your habit of not keeping your hands to yourself could be making you sick. Americans typically touch around 300 surfaces every 30 minutes. Chances are, if you're in public, then one of those surfaces is a handrail. And that handrail is gross! (We already know you don't wash your hands well.)

These paws are kissable.  THey've been washed and washed more than yours!

These paws are kissable. THey've been washed and washed more than yours!

People can transfer germs up to seven times before it leaves their skin. Testing has shown that when you grab a handrail on a public transit system or escalator, for example, you could be exposing yourself to

  • food
  • urine
  • mucus
  • feces, and
  • blood — as well as the bacteria, viruses, yeast, and mold they can transmit.

Is your stomach churning yet? This is just more proof that you aren't as clean as you thought you were. Elevator buttons, ATM machines, and gas pump handles are other filthy surfaces, and you probably touch them all in your daily life.

Oh, Dear God: This Puppy Teaches His Owner a Lesson

6. Hotel Rooms: Hazardous to Your Health?

While Fido and Fluffy may fight fleas (hey, do something about that), you may be battling your own pests.

Whether you stay in a swanky, high end hotel or a seedy motel suite, you may be checking out with some extra baggage. And I'm not just talking about those hotel shampoos you hoarded.

One in 10 Americans have encountered a bed bug problem, with the most frequent source of contamination being hotels. Some experts believe that the rise in worldwide travel is contributing to the global epidemic.

Other common sources of bed bug contamination include:

  • college dorms
  • nursing homes
  • office buildings
  • schools and daycare facilities
  • hospitals
  • vehicles (trains, buses, and taxis)
  • movie theatres, and
  • used furniture.

Cute Video: A Cat's Guide to Taking Care of Your Human

Be Wary of Bedbugs and Other Hungry Critters

Bedbugs are flat and rust-colored, about the size of an apple seed. They also don't discriminate in their hunt for a meal; the pests simply like warm bodies.

When these insects come out at night, bedbugs can drink seven times their weight in human blood. They can also survive months without a meal. Summer is their peak season.16

As disgusted as you might be by the thought of sharing your bed with thousands of these insects, the damage they do is simply a nuisance, much like that of a mosquito. Bedbug bites produce itchy red bumps and sometimes no reaction at all.

Bedbugs Aren't All That's in Your Hotel Room

If bedbugs aren't enough to make you second guess your hotel stay, consider this gag-worthy nugget: Researchers who examined hotel room cleanliness found traces of semen and urine in every single room tested. Traces of urine were even found on the nightstand Bible. (Is nothing sacred?)

The bedspread, television remote and the main light switch were particularly contaminated areas, harboring fecal bacteria, streptococcal and staphylococcal infections. These bacteria can produce a variety of illnesses, including

  • blood infections
  • pneumonia
  • meningitis
  • skin infections, and
  • food poisoning.17

With cooties like that, do everyone a favor and just stay home. Cuddle with your furry friends. Dogs and cats aren't nearly as dirty as places you've been.

Your Pet Isn't the Only One Who Sheds

You can usually tell cat and dog lovers by the extra hair they wear on their clothes. However, they aren't the only ones who shed.

Here are ick-worthy facts about you.

  • Humans lose an average of 50-100 hairs from their head each day. A normal scalp contains about 100,000 hairs.
  • You're probably ingesting human hair. Some food manufacturers use human hair to derive an amino acid called L-cysteine, a softening agent for bread. Ewww.
  • Dust is made up mostly from dead skin cells. Out of the 1.6 trillion skin cells on the human body, you shed about a million each day.
  • You shed about 8 pounds (3.6 kg) of dead skin cells each year.
  • One human probably sheds enough skin to feed a million dust mites. Although invisible to the naked eye, dust mites definitely share your bed and your home.

Be happy that you have a pet who loves you regardless!

Mwah! Not a cootie in sight. Any cooties this pup has are probably nothing in comparison to what you could catch from other humans. Go ahead and smooch away!

Mwah! Not a cootie in sight. Any cooties this pup has are probably nothing in comparison to what you could catch from other humans. Go ahead and smooch away!

7. Hospitals: A Playground for Pathogens

Cooties can be downright dangerous, and unfortunately some of the meanest cooties hide in hospitals. It's best to stay away, if you can. (Besides, your pets are waiting for you at home.)

Over 2 million Americans get drug-resistant infections annually, and tens of thousands die from them.18 Examples include C. Diff, MRSA, and flesh-eating bacterial disease. The elderly, very young, and immunosuppressed are at special risk for these superbugs.

Hospitals are the most acute source of antibiotic-resistant infections, and a prime source of contagion is medical personnel checking IVs and catheters with dirty hands. Studies have consistently found that doctors and nurses wash their hands only about half of the time.

Observe those who care for you. Do they wash up before touching you? How about after writing in your chart? And what about you? Even though you're a patient, are you washing your hands before eating that hospital meal?

Consider every touch, every incision, and every tube a potential access point for super germs. And don't assume that hospital rooms are thoroughly disinfected between patients. One study found that 75% of hospitals had been cited for sanitary violations.

A kiss is worth a thousand purrs. The warmest hearts often have cold noses.  Pucker up, puddytat!

A kiss is worth a thousand purrs. The warmest hearts often have cold noses. Pucker up, puddytat!

Just Kiss the Cat: You Probably Already Have Cooties

Based on the gross things you're already doing in your everyday life, you probably already have the cooties. So go ahead—cuddle your canine and kiss your cat.

The warmest hearts often have cold noses.

Summary: 7 Things That Are Dirtier Than Your Pet's Mouth

What's GermyWhy It's Nasty

Soiled sponges in the kitchen

Your kitchen sponge is the biggest source of household germs. You probably use it to unknowingly spread pathogens throughout your home -- including fecal matter from raw meat that you prepare on countertops.

Poo-poo purse

Because you sit your purse on the floor and don't wash your hands thoroughly, your pocketbook may be cross-contaminating your world with fecal matter, Miss Thang.

Drug and microbe infested cash

Paper money can transmit 3,000 different types of bacteria, and the flu virus can live on banknotes for 17 days. If you have dollar bills in your wallet, they probably contain trace amounts of cocaine. Don't ever say you've never touched drugs.

iPhone while iPoop

Your cell phone may have fecal bacteria on it. Most Americans admit to not being able to put down the device long enough to "finish their business" in the bathroom.

Escalator handrails: heinous hygiene

When you touch handrails and other common objects in public, you expose yourself to food, urine, mucus, feces, and blood -- as well as the pathogens they transmit.

Hotel rooms

Bedbugs frequent hotel rooms and can drink seven times their weight in human blood. Traces of semen and urine frequently "decorate" hotel rooms -- including the walls, phone, and even the hotel Bible.

Millions of people have kissed the legendary Blarney stone in Ireland which promises the gift of gab. Can you imagine the germs?  Your pet's mouth is likely cleaner.

Millions of people have kissed the legendary Blarney stone in Ireland which promises the gift of gab. Can you imagine the germs? Your pet's mouth is likely cleaner.


1Mann, D. (2007, October 18). Kitchen Germs: Stopping Germs Where They Breed. Retrieved from

2 University of Wisconsin Extension Office (2008, February). Consumer Food Handling Practices Indicate Need For Food Safety Education: A Summary Of Research. Retrieved from

3Mann, D. (2007, October 18). Kitchen Germs: Stopping Germs Where They Breed. Retrieved from

4Dahl, M. (2013, May 30). Your gross handbag is germier than a toilet. Retrieved from

5Castillo, M. (2013, May 20). Handbags may contain more germs than average toilet flush. Retrieved from

6Jaslow, R. (2013, June 12). 95 percent of people wash their hands improperly: Are you one of them? Retrieved from

7McCafferty, G. (2013, March 28). Dirty money? Check your wallet. Retrieved from

8Singletary, M. (2014, April 24). Dirty Dollars: That paper money is teeming with germs. Retrieved from

9Dirty Money - Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Money. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2014, from,28804,1914560_1914558_1914544,00.html.

10AAHA (2004, November 29). Pet Owner Survey News Release. Retrieved from

11Newport, F., Jones, J., Saad, L., & Carroll, J. (2006, December 21). Americans and Their Pets. Retrieved from

12Gardner, D. (2011, January 25). Don't sleep with your pet, you may catch something (possibly bubonic plague). Retrieved from

13Dell'Amore, C. (2013, June 19). U.S. Pet Poll. Retrieved from

14USA Today (2011, October 14). 1 in 6 phones have E.coli traces. Retrieved from

15Castillo, M. (2012, February 2). Survey: 75 percent of Americans admit to using phone while in bathroom - CBS News. Retrieved from

16New Bed Bug Survey Shows Problem is Not Waning. (2013, April 22). Retrieved from

17NBC News (2012, June 17). Germiest hot spots in hotels? TV remote, light switch, study finds. Retrieved from

18Castillo, M. (2013, September 16). CDC: Hospitals major source of antibiotic-resistant infections. Retrieved from

A very kissable face.

A very kissable face.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2014 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 10, 2017:

Paula - You sound like a wonderful pet parent accepting and giving such affection. Any decent pet parent can't help but smooch their babies. My darling cat Sheppard (who has passed on now) used to tilt his head for kisses. He was so affectionate. I love how cats' tongues are scratchy as sandpaper when they are little but as they age become smooth. There's nothing like the commitment and love of an old friend. Who wouldn't want kisses from them? Tell Tommy and your doggy to keep the sweet love coming. Nothing dirty about love from a loyal friend. It sure beats the cleanliness of all the other things.

Paula-fpherj48 on July 09, 2017:

F.A.....I love my fur babies to pieces. I constantly hold them, hug and cuddle & play with them......they sleep with me & snuggle up. I've been known to kiss them once in a while too. Mostly, they will kiss doggy licks my bare feet when we play ball....and when my kitty is bathing herself, she bathes me know, those "sandpaper" kisses! LOL.....I laugh whenever he does that because kitty tongues feel so weird!

I'm fairly proactive and consistent with keeping down the possible environmental bacteria & virus (at least at home where I have control) We really do need to be vigilant elsewhere, but no sense being overly concerned. Just use common sense.

I enjoyed this article very much! Oh and my Tommy says, "Meow!!"......Paula

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 09, 2017:

GalaxyRat - Kiss away. We are often dirtier than they are!

GalaxyRat on July 09, 2017:

Loved this. Gives me more reasons to kiss my rats and dog. :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 08, 2015:

Peg - Glad that doggie is still collecting kisses. Thanks for stopping back by! Merry Christmas to you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 08, 2015:

Snakesmum - Good to know that snakes get cuddles, too! And I'm glad you don't mix those species!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on December 07, 2015:

Back to congratulate you on the Hub of the Day Award. This one is certainly a winner. Read this one again and yes, I'll still kiss my dogs.

Snakesmum on December 06, 2015:

Hi, You asked if I would cuddle with a pet snake! Yes, I would, and do it all the time with my four. Cuddle the cat a lot too, but not at the same time, as they don't mix very well. :-)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

Jackie - I am sure she is pristine. And mush more so than so many other things in our lives. Have a wonderful weekend!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 05, 2015:

I kiss mine on the nose; I don't think she has any lips! lol

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

Heidi - I'd rather kiss a beloved pet than the bottom of a purse or a dollar bill any day! Nasty! Plus, kissing a cat or dod is way more fun. Have a great weeken!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

Snakesmum - Thank you! So would you be daring enough to cuddle with a pet snake? Just wondering.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

word55 - I laughed when I read your comment. OMG ... I don't French them. That would make me ... um in need of serious help, I give them what my great grandma used to call "woogers". ... sweet kisses like you'd give a child. Lots of normal people do? Nothing even remotely sexual. My husband is ROFL about this even more than I am. OMG. Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

MsDora - Thank you! This was a surprise! I was so happy I kissed my cats in celebration!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

Persyycacious - I don't get the whole rating and scoring system, Editor's Choice or any of that. Its kind of like making sausage. I do appreciate your visit though! Have a terrific weekend, and thank you for the kind kudos.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2015:

Kristen - Nothing wrong with it and they sure don't tell. We are often far more disgusting and judgmental than our four legged friends. Have an excellent weekend!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on December 05, 2015:

OMG! I remember when you first posted this one... and it's still gross, wait, I mean good. Whatever. :) Thank God our immune systems are evolved enough to handle the petri dish we live in! Congrats on Hub of the Day! Well deserved, as always. Hope you're having a lovely holiday season so far.

Snakesmum on December 05, 2015:

Hey, congrats on getting Hub of the Day! :-)

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on December 05, 2015:

Hi Flourish, Great HOTD, very informative and deserves to be read by everyone. I agree with all you've presented here. I've grown out of having pets. I had them in my childhood. I've had a ball with sharing love with dogs and cats. I remember only allowing my dog or cat to either kiss or lick in my ear. I'd hug them like crazy but the kissing? No, just didn't feel that. I had to reserve the french or tongue kissing for my female mates and I'd hope they did the same for me but anyway, to each his own or their. Thank you for such an interesting hub .

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 05, 2015:

Congratulations on your HOTD Award! Well-deserved.

Perspycacious on December 05, 2015:

19 months to make it to Hub Of The Day? I guess the raters all washed their hands of the matter! But, quality always shines through. Three cheers for a favorite Hubber.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on December 05, 2015:

Flourish, wow! This is a popular and interesting hub. Yes I do sleep with my cats on my bed. And I do kiss them on the mouth when they're good. Nothing wrong with that, right? Congrats on HOTD! This hub makes you want to think!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 16, 2015:

Thanks, Shyron! I'm not afraid to say I kiss them. But I can understand your reservations.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 16, 2015:

To kiss a cat or smooch a pooch

that's just not for me

I would be thinking

Every time

I just kissed a flea

I did enjoy this, voted up across the board and shared.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 08, 2015:

Au fait - Thank you for your observations and for the description of how far you go to ensure you don't get infected with all the germs that exist today. Stay clean and have a great weekend! Thanks for reading!

C E Clark from North Texas on March 07, 2015:

I don't even like to touch merchandise in a store because it's been handled by other people who most likely don't wash their hands -- ever. I wrote about the correct way to wash one's hands and the research for it was eye opening. I recently paid attention again, only instead of Walmart's bathroom, I checked the city library and I will say if one person in 10 even thinks about washing their hands (much less acting on that thought) after heading from the stall straight out the door, it's a miracle. The patrons of the library are filthier then Walmart customers!

Anyway, I never had a sponge in my kitchen like so many people do and now I don't even have a kitchen. Dear God, that means I must now depend entirely on those people who never wash their hands and who also work in restaurants, and yes, they're the same ones.

There are hooks on the backs of bathroom stall doors to hang one's purse, but I solved that problem years ago when I started driving a city bus 11 hours a day, 5 days a week (no, not any more, but back then, yes). I stopped carrying a purse and I love the freedom so much I've never gotten back in the habit.

Money is absolutely filthy, and how could it not be considering how many people handle it? I know the banks give it a bath regularly, and there's anti-disease chemicals in it's chemistry, but even so, think about all those people who literally never wash their hands. They're handling your money before it gets to you . . .

Taught my daughter as a toddler and most of her life to avoid touching anything in public unless she absolutely must for safety. If she can do without the handrails, then do without them. I do the same. Of course now we can carry the anti-viral hand disinfectant with us and use it now and then. Scientists say it's better than soap and water for killing germs.

I like to wipe my cell phone and my computer keyboard down with 90 proof rubbing alcohol every few days. Not dripping because that will mess with the workings of the devices, but enough to keep the germs from enjoying their party too much.

People kissing their animals on the mouth in commercials or doing it in front of me for real is disgusting. Yes, I know a dog's mouth has all those enzymes in it that kills almost anything, but it's still gross to me. I have no pets because I'm allergic to all animals, but for those people who have pets and who never wash their hands, I guess a few licks from Poochie might be better than nothing, which seems to be the alternative for that bunch.

9 out of 10 people who use public bathrooms but don't wash their hands is a pretty big majority. I have to say I think filthy people cost our insurance companies (which in turn raise our insurance rates) more than overweight people are said to do. Can we find a way to tax people for not washing their hands? Why don't we publicly shame them? Place cameras by the entrance door of all public latrines and also by all the sinks in those latrines. If people on the video coming into the bathroom do not also show up on the video washing their hands correctly before leaving, list them with photo on the sides of city buses and name them as germ spreaders.

Now hand washing is truly a choice and filthy hands spread filth and disease, no question about it. Fat may or may not harm the people around us and may be caused by many different things beyond our control. Not so with dirty hands. There is only one reason for dirty hands.

I have observed many a young mother walking straight from the bathroom stall out the door without so much as glancing at the sinks, and she has her little one in hand as she walks. What a lovely habit to be teaching her youngster.

Interesting article and very good points made. Clearly we need not to be kissing our pets on the mouth so much as cleaning ourselves and our filthy habits up.

ologsinquito from USA on March 03, 2015:

Thanks Flourish, it was nothing bad, just general run-of-the-mill business, which seems to afflict everyone nowadays.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 03, 2015:

Audrey - There's so much grossness out there, it makes me want to stay in and snuggle with my cats. Thanks for reading and stay away from those germs!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 03, 2015:

ologsinquito - Thank you for returning. The Live Your Best Life cat hub got HOTD on Friday which was a big surprise since it's an older hub. I hope things have become more serene in your life since then. I sure know what you're saying. Sometimes it all seems to happen at once.

Audrey Howitt from California on March 02, 2015:

EEEEW--this is a great hub though--but it makes me want to wear gloves!

ologsinquito from USA on March 02, 2015:

I opened this again because I thought it was just selected as HOTD and I wanted to offer you a belated congratulations. (It was a crazy day, and I didn't get to read it then.) But now I think it was another cat story. Anyway, this is one of my all-time favorites.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 09, 2015:

Snakesmum - Cats are way cuddlier and cuter than iphones and the answers they give are often more intelligent than Siri. Just sayin'. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Snakesmum on February 09, 2015:

I'd rather kiss my cat than take a call on my phone in the bathroom! She loves cuddles anyway.

Enjoyed reading your hub. :-)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 05, 2015:

Lefty Jay - Glad you enjoyed it! Cats are worth the risk. Have a great weekend!

Chris Powell from Atlanta, GA on February 05, 2015:

Wow, and I used to kiss my cat all the time, great article!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 18, 2015:

Patricia - Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing. I'm guilty of a few of these myself. A few germs never hurt, I guess. My preference though is kissing my cat.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 18, 2015:

O yes...guilty of many of these but I am MUCH better. I no longer use my kitchen sponge for anything but dishes and give it a clorox bath once a week.

And the money thing....eeewww...I think of all of the times, yes, I admit it...that I have held a bill between my lips for a second or two....noooo

Great read and really not to be taken lightly.

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

Voted up+++ shared g+ tweeted

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 30, 2014:

AnnaCia - Keep kissing your sweet kitty. The world can be such a nasty place that you need all the affection you can get. She may build up your immune system, too.

AnnaCia on October 30, 2014:

Well! This is a super good hub. So much information that I don't want to touch anything now. I love the hub and the style. My cat is sweet and I get kisses and love from her.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 30, 2014:

micko27 - It's a nasty world out there. Stay inside and kiss your cat.

Mirjan Stojanovic from Belgrade on October 30, 2014:

Damn, you will make people wear gloves during the summer and washing hands 75 times a day :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 24, 2014:

ologsinquito - I just sent you my profile through Pinterest. Thanks again!

ologsinquito from USA on September 23, 2014:

Flourish, let me try to add you. My notifications are a little wacky. If I don't see your name, or if I'm not able to, I'll just need to know your Pinterest user name.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2014:

Rhonda - Amen to that. People have some nasty habits, don't they? Thank you for reading and commenting, and stay clean.

Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on September 23, 2014:

I've always kissed the pets and it bothers me not one bit. However, after reading this I think I may literally throw all the money in the washing machine and put a bottle of bleach in my purse to take everywhere I go :).

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2014:

CassandraCae - They sound truly pampered. I just lost my 17 year old, Sam, yesterday. He would eat dry food but never really ate wet cat food. He did love deli meat, especially Perdue precooked chicken strips. Thank you for reading and commenting and go give them and extra kiss.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2014:

ologsinquito - Thank you! Found it!

Elizabeth Lynn Westbay from United States on September 23, 2014:

I love my cats. We share, I always let my kitties take a nibble of my spoon if it's something they want and I know they can have. They have a few human food each they love and will ask for but when they were babies I let them try anything. They don't get on my counters either :) they behave so well

ologsinquito from USA on September 23, 2014:

This is going on my new Crazy for Cats board. You're welcome to join.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 01, 2014:

ologsinquito - Thanks for pinning to the "Caturday" board. Meow to you!

ologsinquito from USA on August 01, 2014:

This one is very cute, although I think you and I are of a slightly different mind on pet kisses. Anyway, I was recently invited to pin to a "caturday" group board, which is where this one is going.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 18, 2014:

Thanks, KoffeeKlatch Gals! Its great to know fellow pet smoochers.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on July 18, 2014:

I love it. I voted up, awesome, and funny. I'm still laughing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 17, 2014:

JYOTI - Thank you for the compliment. Pets need love too!

Jyoti Kothari from Jaipur on July 17, 2014:

You have shown other side of the coin. I praise your hard work for this long hub. Rated up and shared in H+

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 13, 2014:

rls8994 - I'm sure he appreciated even a side kiss. Enjoy your weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 13, 2014:

Lady_E - Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a sweet four-legged friend in your life to share a smooch with.

rls8994 from Mississippi on July 12, 2014:

It is amazing what disgusting things we come in contact with everyday as we touch door handles, facets, grocery carts, keys, money and such and not realize what we have really just touched Lol....and yes i use to kiss my dog but kind of did a side kiss, not on the mouth lol....great hub! :)

Elena from London, UK on July 12, 2014:

An interesting read and eye opener. Thanks

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 08, 2014:

gmmurgirl - Alright, if that's the way it's gotta be, but at least don't take your phone with you to the potty, okay? Thanks for reading!

Shan Moore from Philippines on July 07, 2014:

Very informative hub Flourish! Indeed we live in a world full of germs and bacteria in every turn. But still, I could not kiss a cat nor a dog. Just no my thing. But wonderful hub, two thumbs up!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 07, 2014:

Aww, Leslie, not like EVER? How about if he keeps his tongue to himself, stays away from gross thing for an entire day and doesn't tell a soul? Thanks for reading and commenting anyway!

Leslie A. Shields from Georgia on July 07, 2014:

Thank you for this subtle reminder that we are all going to die! But, no matter what you say, I will never, kiss my dog... do you hear me.... never, never, never...

Loved the Hub....

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 07, 2014:

Pamela - Unfortunately sometimes the hooks are gone. I go over-handed or hang the purse around my shoulder or neck -- anything to avoid setting it on that floor! Thanks for reading and commenting. Stay well.

Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on July 07, 2014:

Interesting. A bit hard to read -- so gross -- but very useful. Great research you've done here.

Unfortunately, there quite often are not hooks in bathroom stalls, for instance, at theaters and some restaurants. So many ways to get sick and yet most of us grow healthier from a little germ warfare in our midst. The Calgary Herald did a great three-piece article in 2013 on the rise in superbugs due to the fact people are using anti-bacterial concoctions and avoiding germs in as many ways possible. It's hard to know where is the safe path on all this. My game plan is to just stick to common sense and wash with plenty of soap after outings to the mall or restaurant or grocery shopping. (Shopping cart top bars are very dirty, too.)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 07, 2014:

DreamerMeg - At least you love your kitty and give her warm affection. I'm sure she overlooks the rest. Thanks for reading and commenting, and have a great day!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 07, 2014:

Audrey - Thank you! I cringe at the thought of germs but am the first to pucker up for a smooch from the kitties. They only spread joy to me. Thanks for reading and sharing!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on July 07, 2014:

Interesting hub. We live with bacteria all our lives, in fact, without them we might be seriously ill! No, I don't kiss my cat but that's because long experience has taught me that I HAVE to wash my hands after touching her, otherwise I will get red eye (conjunctivitis).

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 06, 2014:

Love your style! This is such a great hub in every way. I am phobic about germs, but will kiss my cat any day (when she allows it.)

Voted across and happy to share. Thanks!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 28, 2014:

ChristinS - Oh, you just verified what we all suspected! Nasty, nasty places. I am also suspect of the food that people bring in to work, church, etc. that is made in their kitchens. Kitchen habits vary significantly (licking of the spoons, washing of the hands, etc.) It's a gross world. Kissing your pet is nothing, right on the muzzle.

Christin Sander from Midwest on June 28, 2014:

Voted up across and pinned - very informative and funny hub. I can attest to the whole hotel thing. Having worked in them from the roadside inn to the swankiest of downtown 200+ per night suites, they are all disgusting. ALL of them. When I stay in hotels, I check for bed bugs, bring my own linens and clean everything myself before I use it. Housekeepers are not paid enough and have too much work piled on them in any given day to care that much. As for the rest of it :) Good thing we humans are made with fantastic immune systems lol.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 18, 2014:

Chelsey - Don't tell anyone, but you are not alone.

Chelsey from Ottawa, Ontario on June 18, 2014:

This is awesome and cute! My friends find it weird that I kiss cats on the mouth! I don't with dogs, but I do with cats. Not sure why. Now I have an article to show people next time!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 14, 2014:

Hmm! - Thanks for reading. You are fortunate to have an extra strong immune system (and stomach).

Hmm! on June 13, 2014:

I do all of the things you say not to do and I never get I get a cold maybe once every two years. Fancy that.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 11, 2014:

Monis Mas - They deserve affection, too. There are worse things than germs -- being unloved.

Agnes on June 11, 2014:

I kiss my dog and my cat all the time :-) It never grosses me out!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 10, 2014:

Hady - Every time I think about it, me too, except for kissing the cat. That seems the safest thing to do because they're the most predictable and cuddliest.

Hady Chahine from Manhattan Beach on June 09, 2014:

Hilarious! It took only a few seconds to become totally disgusted by everything I did today...all the public places I visited. Having read your hub, however, it left me pondering how difficult life must be for people afflicted with mysophobia.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:

angryelf - It would probably closely mirror the swabbing of my cat's whiskers. Just sayin.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:

PegCole17 - Oh that is priceless.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:

Peggy W - I'm with you. Pets are the least of our worries. People are the ones we have to wonder about.

angryelf from Tennessee on June 09, 2014:

I promise you- if you did a swab of your phone and placed it in agar and incubated it, you'd be either grossed out OR fascinated by the hundreds of colonies that will pop up; all different species of bacteria and fungi.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 09, 2014:

How about the magazines in the Doctor's office? Germy...eeww. I was in line at the pharmacy when someone who was sick sneezed into a magazine then put it back on the rack.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 09, 2014:

We certainly do live in a germ laden world! We run our kitchen sponge through our dishwasher every time we operate it and change it out with another one each time. Reading this makes me want to get those Lysol wipes and get busy wiping down some surfaces in our home! Being a former OR nurse, I am a big believer in hand washing! I'll continue to kiss our pets. They are the least of our worries. Ha! Sharing this and will also pin to my Do You Know This? board.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:

Peg - Oh, that is a gross thought. I've always thought about the ATM keypad and Redbox movies. All those hands touching those things.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 09, 2014:

I had to laugh out loud at some of these funny things, Flourish, and cringe at others. Although I happily kiss my dogs (and I do know where their noses have been) I don't think I'll ever want to kiss the Blarney Stone. Yuck! BTW, keep in mind that we put our purses in the shopping cart where little diapered bottoms have been. Ewww.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:

OldRoses - I am now convinced that the whole world is swimming in germs. Yuck yuck.

Caren White on June 09, 2014:

I thought that I was pretty germ-savvy but I didn't know about the bottoms of purses. I try to never put my purse on the floor of a public restroom, but who thinks about other surfaces such as desks or the counter at the store! After reading this hub, I will never ever put my purse on my kitchen counter again! Thanks for a great hub. Voted enthusiastically up!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:

Dolores - Chicken kissing. That's cute! I hadn't heard of catching salmonella that way. :-0

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 09, 2014:

This was so interesting and disgusting! I have been soaking my kitchen sponge in boiling water each evening because I usually use my kitchen sponge until it looks pretty bad. And I used to go on bleach cleaning binges but not so much anymore.

I may kiss my cat but I just read about an outbreak of salmonella that was associated with chicken kissing! Keeping chickens is now so popular and with people just keeping a few of them, they become attached. They love their chickens and kiss them!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 03, 2014:

Tori - It's much safer (and enjoyable) to just kiss the cat. Thanks for stopping by.

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 03, 2014:

Oh my goodness... So much bacteria floating around! I can only imagine how disgusting a kitchen sponge would look under a microscope. It gives me to shivers just thinking about all the bacteria that constantly surrounds me!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 24, 2014:

wheelinallover - Now you have me rethinking those soda cans. You are absolutely right about all the yucky things around us. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend!

Dennis Thorgesen from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S. on May 24, 2014:

It is amazing how many parts of our life we believe are clean that in reality are not. I spent years part time working building clean rooms and computer rooms. In the early days computer rooms were considered clean rooms. They sure weren't clean as they were being built. I can't tell you how many times I saw blood, people returning to work with out washing their hands after eating and using the boys room.

We all lived through all of these and handling money to buy food off catering trucks then never washing out hands between handling money and eating what we bought with it. No one thought to wash the top of soda cans which can actually kill if they have been stored in rat infested storage.

It is a wonder these rooms became sterile working environments.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 23, 2014:

StellaSee - It makes you want to shout and run, huh? Doesn't the person on the other end hear running water (or worse)? Thanks for stopping by!

StellaSee from California on May 23, 2014:

Hi FlourishAnyway, interesting fact about which currencies are the dirtiest, and I never understood why people can't put their phones down in the restroom. Thanks for the laughs and information :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2014:

Lucky Cats - Glad you enjoyed this, and thanks for the kudos. Mine are great friends and smoochers. They don't even care if I have morning breath. Have a great day!

Kathy from Independence, Kansas on May 21, 2014:

FANTASTIC! Love it and YES!! I kiss my cats all the time...sleep with them and cuddle, too. There's nothing better. What a great article and such fine writing!!!! Thank you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

Vicki - Pets are so much cuddlier than most people and their intention more genuine, it's so hard not to prefer them. Thank you for reading and commenting!