The rise in popularity of cats as household pets can very much be felt. It seems like everyone and their mother now has a pet cat, or would very much like one. In light of recent information confirming the crazy cat lady myth, here’s the question: Cats are cute and all, but are they worth it?
Feline Business is Risky Business
Cats might contain an infectious parasite that may be causing schizophrenia to their owners. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that has previously been linked to developing schizophrenia in humans. Toxoplasma gondii is also associated with domestic cats–nicknamed the cat poop parasite, for obvious reasons. Previous epidemiologic studies attribute infectious agents, particularly toxoplasma gondii as having a hand in some cases of schizophrenia.
In animals, toxoplasmo gondii can make an animal act strangely by affecting its neurotransmitter functioning.
The Crazy Cat Lady Myth?
A study led by E. Fuller Torrey OF Stanley Medical Research Institute and Robert H. Yolken, M.D. of Stanley Laboratory of Developmental Neurovirology at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine found what every “crazy cat lady” will want to deny. Exposure to cats in childhood could also lead to the development of schizophrenia. In various studies, in people diagnosed with schizophrenia or another serious mental illness, it was significantly more common that as children, they grew up in households of cat ownership. This can be linked to the toxoplasma gondii parasite that appears to increase the odds of schizophrenia by double. This can be linked to how toxoplasma gondii parasite infections appears to doubly increase the odds of developing schizophrenia.
Studies have reported toxoplasma gondii antibodies were present in persons with schizophrenia and other similar psychological disorders since 1953. There was a higher percentage of toxoplasma gondii antibodies in the affected person in 18 studies of the 19. In 11 of those studies, the difference was statistically significant.
France Has A High Incidence of Toxoplasma Gondii and Schizophrenia
France is a hub for toxoplasma gondii, apparently with a high prevalence of toxoplasma gondii infected persons. It was also found that France has 50% higher schizophrenic admission rates than those in England. Does this mean France is also a rival of the U.S. for crazy cat lady populations?
Toxoplasma gondii is the leading cause of toxoplasmosis, the number one cause of death linked to food-borne illness in the U.S. It can caused by contact with cat feces. The Schizophrenia Bulletin reported that it is only common to find the toxoplasma gondii parasite in developed countries. It also generally infects warm-blooded species. It gets worse as this parasite can cause an illness, termed T. gondii, linked to flu-like symptoms that can lead to fatality.