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Is Your Cat Making You Crazy?

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Is Your Cat Making You Crazy?


Is your cat making you crazy?†According to Czech scientist†Jaroslav Flegr, cats can be the source of serious medical conditions, mental health issues and tragic incidents in humans, including:

  • Suicides
  • Car crashes
  • Schizophrenia

Say what — he must be a kook, right?!†Well, Flegr’s theories really aren’t as crazy as they sound. Cat feces contain a single-celled parasite known as†Toxoplasma. Exposure to the parasite has long been known to cause serious health problems, including severe brain damage and death, in fetuses and people with weak immune systems. But for healthy people? Well, though Toxoplasma takes up permanent residence in your brain cells, the adverse health affects are usually mild.

Flegr, however, doesn’t believe that Toxoplasma is so innocuous in healthy brains. He believes that the parasite could be, “tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents.”

This might all sound a little “fringe,” to put it delicately, but Flegr’s work has gained some respect from notable neuroscientists. It’s also been backed up by some pretty incredible research. One such study found that the parasite, “can turn a ratís strong innate aversion to cats into an attraction, luring it into the jaws of its No. 1 predator.”

Flegr has found some fascinating gender disparities in his research on humans with the parasite — men were more likely to be introverted, sloppy dressers and oblivious; women, on the other hand, were more likely to be outgoing, image-conscious and trusting. Both genders tested were also 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than people without the parasite. Toxoplasma, too, can trigger schizophrenia in people that were already genetically susceptible.

Still sound crazy? Well, perhaps it’s fair to compare Toxoplasma’s mind-control power to rabies, which, if left untreated, can seriously alter a person’s personality.

Next page: Tips for protecting yourself from Toxoplasma, and should you be concerned about your cat?

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and womenís issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
12:50PM PDT on Jul 1, 2013

Cats are Lovely! Thanks for sharing.

2:40PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

thank you! I´ve been a cat lady since I was a little girl!

8:20AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Judging by the photo accompanying this article, it's the human making the cat crazy. That is one incredibly pissed-off cat!

Nice that the article doesn't bother to say whether the alleged problems are caused by physical contact or due to airborne particles...

10:14PM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Well, I won't swear my sanity was highly rated to start with, but moral of the story is 'keep your cats inside'.

2:49PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Yup, it's the cat making me crazy. Obviously. It's the cat. Couldn't possibly be anything else. I totally blame the cat.

5:55AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

All our cats are inside cats, so I don't have to worry.

1:35PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Never. He is too darned lazy!

11:15AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

very sad how inaccurate this article is. any vet can give you much better information. I guess care2 is going for ratings today?

3:49AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

Very surprised at the lack of responsability in the information portrayed in thsi article.
Is Care2's basic concern getting a polemics even if by using things that are biased ?
Of course you can get some infections etc from your pets, just as they can get them from you, and in the mentioned cases, many can be prevented if the owner takes good care of his/her cat.

There is no cat as dangerous as any human being, even comparing the ammount of infectious serious stuff we can give each other.
I think thsi dr Flegr openly hates cats and is looking for excuses to get rid of them.

5:29AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

If your cat is that angry at you , you don't treat it well that's for sure. Also in TV I saw "How clever cat one had" when it said no no no no...that was not true the cat is singing warning song and better to stay far away it because the instinct is on and it can attack anyone who touch it. Cats are very sweet pets...IF you treat them well

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