No, Cats Won't Make You Crazy

No, Cats Won't Make You Crazy

But Solmi said the findings indicate that owning a cat doesn't amount to an additional risk for developing psychotic symptoms - in other words, if we assume T. gondii is a driver of mental health disorders, then having a cat around doesn't seem to be more risky than other sources of infection, such as dirty vegetables. Since domestic cats are the primary hosts of T. Gondii - that is, they provide an environment within which this parasite can reproduce - it is often speculated that cat ownership may put people at increased risk of mental illness, by exposing them to it.

And scientists previously suggested those bitten by their cat should be screened for depression.

This kind of domestic pets is the definitive host for a parasite named toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) that causes toxoplasmosis infections in people.

While the older study points fingers at cats and their natural parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which has been linked to mental issues such as psychosis and schizophrenia, the new study by researchers from the University College London finds no links between your feline buddy and psychotic symptoms.

'In our study, initial unadjusted analyses suggested a small link between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms at age 13, but this turned out to be due to other factors.

Take that, insane cat lady stereotype. They followed up with the children through their 18th birthday.

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However, according to a 2012 study by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, between 30 and 50 per cent of the world's population is thought to be infected with the parasite - most of whom do not present with signs or symptoms. Why not when cats sailed with the Vikings, can understand physics, and mimic their owner's accent. In fact, their new study is said to be extremely more reliable than previous research, especially with them following up with the same families over the course of 20 years.

So, just to recap: your cat will not make you mentally ill, and as long as you steer clear of its poo, it's unlikely to cause you any other health issues. However, the outcomes show that if the parasite does cause psychiatric difficulties then cat ownership does not appreciably boost exposure risk.

Nevertheless, the research team suggested that "pregnant women should continue to avoid handling soiled cat litter, given possible T. gondii exposure".

"Our study suggests that cat ownership during pregnancy or in early childhood does not pose a direct risk for later psychotic symptoms", says James Kirkbride, one of the authors of the study.

For cats to have the parasite in their systems, they first must eat contaminated raw meat or an infected rodent - which means that keeping your cat indoors goes a long way toward preventing an infection. At ages 13 and 18 years, the children were brought into clinics to be evaluated for psychotic-like symptoms.