June Buggie is Talking Parasites!

MEOW! My name is June Buggie and I have something to say.

I want to say for the record that cats are NOT causing people to commit suicide!

WHAT!!! you say?

So there’s this new research out there about the parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. It’s a parasite that loves cats. Actually, cat feces is one way humans can become infected with this parasite. In fact, it’s the reason why pregnant women are advised to NOT clean the litter box or handle cat feces. And you guys thought women were pulling your leg!

What are some of the findings about T. gondii?

  • A study published this week found that women infected with T. gondii were 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than uninfected women.
  • Women who are infected are more warm, out-going, image-conscious, and rule-abiding. Infected men, on the other hand, are more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people’s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules. This is believed to be due to heightened anxiety. Women who are anxious tend to be more nurturing while men who are more anxious become more isolated.
  • Infected people are more likely to become involved in traffic accidents.
  • Rats infected with T. gondii are less fearful of cats. This is because the parasite must be ingested by a cat to procreate.
  • There is a link betwen T. gondii and schizophrenia. Not all those with schizophrenia are infected with the parasite, but it’s believed that as many as 75% of schizophrenia patients are associated with infectious agents, including T. gondii.
  • There’s also believed to be a link in T. gondii infection and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Now before you go freaking out, you need to know that indoor cats don’t typically carry the virus; outdoor cats can become infected by eating infected rodents. But even if infected, your cat sheds parasites only three weeks of his or her life.

It’s estimated that one out of every three people is infected with T. gondii. So if you are infected, you’re in good company. While cat feces is one mode of infection, you’re more likely to become infected by eating unwashed veggies, under-cooked meat, or by drinking contaminated water.

You can reduce your risk of contamination by thoroughly cooking meat, washing fruits and vegetables, and by keeping food surfaces clean. Also, be sure to wash your hands after handling raw meat or scooping the litterbox. Even better, wear gloves.

So know the facts and take care of yourself if you are infected. And if you’re not infected, stay that way.

MEOW!

Links:

Australia Herald Sun: Cat feces parasite linked to female suicide

Time Magazine: Crazy Cat Love: Caused By Parasitic Infection?

Are ‘Cat Ladies’ More Likely to Attempt Suicide?

The Atlantic Magaine: How Your Cat is Making You Crazy

35 thoughts on “June Buggie is Talking Parasites!

  1. June Buggie (appropriate name given the post)… joking. I had read an article about this & dismissd it as paid science justifying twaddle. Give someone the means and they’ll make the end to suit their own purposes. Your last lines say it all but I’d advise a grain of salt also.

  2. Thank you for the information. A lot of these studies are correlation studies, not causative so people need to be very careful not to make causal relationship between cats and other incidents such as suicide.

    I’ll be back,
    Sankissjuice

  3. I read this the other day and decided that as my blood is already full of parasites Mr T. Gondii will have to take a number and get in line!

    Thanks for putting it in perspective June Buggie xx

  4. Weee’s don’t have it 🙂 Humom’s rather mad, so I guess she has it. Weee’s gotta make sure we wash our paws after we’ve touched her! 🙂
    Big Huggies Mollie and Furball x

  5. Great post, I learned a lot.

    I’ve been bugged, however, by all the sensational headlines about this. Even NPR, which is often less sensational than cable news sites, led with the cat and suicide link before admitting half way down the page that most people catch this illness from handling raw food. Very few people catch it from cats.

    Thanks for the information. June Buggie, you’re a better journalist than many of the pros.

  6. Thanks for the total yuck-O article June Buggie! Ha! It was actually very interesting and I am so glad you shared it with us. Is there any way to get rid of the parasite once ‘one in three’ of us catches it? Those are scary stats! I also wonder if dogs can catch it?? Have you ever busted Rumpy sniffing around your litter box… if you know what I mean.

  7. Hi June Buggie!!!! *paw waves* Thanks for todays post that is very interesting! 🙂
    I didn’t know that cats carry those parasite “T gondii” at all. I have to let my mom be careful, she is not pregrant woman though.
    The difference between infected women and men is interesting.
    Also the face that Schizophrenia is related to parasites surprised me. We have to be much more careful to wash hands veggies and eat well cooked meat from now on.

  8. The finalists for the 2012 Petties have been announced! Congratulations on your blog rumpydog on being a finalist in the Best Cause Blog Category for the 2012 Petties.

    Voting is now open! Please email me at christina@dogtime.com so I can provide you a Petties finalist badge to place on your site.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Congrats!
    Christina

  9. They used to blame all this on syphilis, of course transmitted by women, now they blame it on cats, but women are still involved. I read the studies, but I hate the headlines.

  10. That explains a lot about Icewolf lol …. all that raw “undercooked” meat…not cooked at all actually ;), chomping it up straight from the carcass! And certainly don’t wash my paws! Oh wolfie parasites!! I must be riddled with such infections!! At least I have a good excuse for the maddness I pass off as wolf-sanity 😉

  11. Hey there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone4.
    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be
    able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Thanks!

What would you like to add to the conversation? Bark at me in a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s