Is Your Cat Making You Mentally Ill?

I bet after reading that headline, you’re saying, yes, my cat drives me crazy! But actually, new research shows that your cat can actually make you mentally ill, and it’s no laughing matter.

According to CBS News, felines carry a cat parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii), which is linked to miscarriages, fetal development disorders, flu-like illnesses, blindness and death.

Researches from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, have found that exposure to cats during childhood can be a risk factor for developing mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. “Cat ownership in childhood has now been reported in three studies to be significantly more common in families in which the child is later diagnosed with schizophrenia or another serious mental illness,” the authors stated in a press release.  Read more…

Toxoplasma gondii cat parasite

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 60 million Americans carry the parasite. So, how do cats become infected? Well, they usually get passed the parasite after eating an infected animal or rodent. It is then passed in their feces, making kittens more likely to spread the parasite as they tend to go to the bathroom more often. Humans get exposed by accidentally ingesting the oocysts after cleaning an infected cat’s litter box, touching feces, or coming in contact with contaminated soil.  More Cleaning your cat.

So what are some symptoms your cat is infected? Look for lethargy, depression, fever, vomiting, jaundice, installation of eyes and loss of appetite. If you believe your cat is infected, be sure to cat him or her to the vet immediately. They may need to hospitalize your kitten.

As far as symptoms in humans, most who are infected are unaware of it unless you have a weakened immune system. Some symptoms include body aches, fever, fatigue, headaches and swollen lymph nodes. Be sure to tell your doctor if you think you’ve been infected, or if you’re experiencing these symptoms so you can be tested.

Head over to CBS News for more.

Have you been exposed to Toxoplasma gondii?




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