One societal perception that is used tongue-in-cheek is the image of the crazy cat lady: a woman who is “past marriageable age” and chooses to keep company with numerous cats. However, a study that was done recently says the choice to own a cat can seemingly cause the woman to become an older individual with the difficult mantle of mental illness. Therefore, it is important to understand the potential cause of mental illness and protect against that issue in order to stay sane and still keep the loving companionship of your cat.
Common Concern for Pregnant Women Now Has Bigger Impact for Non-Pregnant Females
Illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be caused by cat ownership, according to two new studies, one published in Schizophrenia Research and Acta Psychiatra Scandinavica show that more than 60 million people in the US are infected with toxoplasmosis as the result of owning a cat and cleaning the cat’s litter box. The parasite T.gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, has been linked to greater risk of mental disorders. It also has been known to cause serious infection for pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system. This can lead to blindness and even death.
When it comes to mental illness issues, there are studies that show that owning a cat as a child can attribute to mental illness during adulthood. Indeed, reports show that as many as one-fifth of the diagnosed Schizophrenia cases can be traced back to the bacteria that causes toxoplasmosis and therefore results from cat ownership.
Risk for Schizophrenia Great for Those With the T. gondii bacteria
Individuals with the T. gondii infection are at more than twice the risk to develop Schizophrenia, so your not just going crazy because whiskers decided to tear down your new set of roman blinds at three in the morning. Meanwhile, the risk is present to deal with other mental illnesses as well.
In order to be able to keep the cat and reduce the risk of mental illness, it is recommended to clean the cat litter every day. This removes the parasite before it can become infectious, which is at the 1.5 day mark after the cat rids itself of the parasite in its feces.
Therefore, for those who love cats and yet have a predisposition for mental illness and do not need more potential causes for the illness, it is still possible to keep your cat and your sanity. Simply remember to clean the cat litter box daily and minimize exposure to the T.gondii bacteria. This can make for a happy ending for both you and your cats.