Well, this brings a whole new meaning to “crazy cat lady.”
Parasitic Infection In Cats Linked To Aggression
According to a new study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, your cat, more specifically, its feces, could be the reason for your aggressive.
Researchers found a link between the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis, caused by t. gondii, and intermittent explosive disorder. Signs of intermittent explosive disorder include explosive behavior and recurrent outbursts of anger and hostility, such as road rage. Those with the disorder were more than twice as likely as healthy people to have been exposed to t. gondii. “Between aggression and impulsivity, these data suggest that T.gondii seropositive status is primarily related to aggression than to impulsivity in that the variance associated with impulsivity overlaps with the variance associated with aggression,” the study states.
What Is Toxoplasmosis?
As many cat owners know, t.gondii is a parasite found in cats and is spread to through cat feces. It is transmitted to humans when they clean their cat’s litter box.
It’s common knowledge that toxoplasmosis can cause brain damager or death to fetuses, which is why pregnant women should avoid cleaning litter boxes. But there’s apparently more to it that we think…
What Other Studies Say About Toxoplasmosis
A recent study in 2015 also showed that children infected with the parasite have poorer reading skills. Another revealed a correlation between schizophrenia and owning a cat. “T. gondii gets into the brain and forms microscopic cysts. We think it then becomes activated in late adolescence and causes disease, probably by affecting the neurotransmitters,” researcher E. Fuller Torrey told The Huffington Post.
However, earlier this year, a study published in PLOS ONE disputed this, and found there is very little correlation between the two. “On the whole, there was little evidence that T. gondii was related to increased risk of psychiatric disorder, poor impulse control, personality aberrations or neurocognitive impairment,” the conclusion stated. Phew.
Cat Ownership Still Safe?
So, is it time to give old kitty the boot? Absolutely not, and this should be no reason to stop you or anyone else from adopting a cat. As co-author of the study Royce Lee told The Washington Post, people with intermittent explosive disorder could have gotten it from raw meat, and people with IED are more likely to seek out the companionship of animals, which could explain the connection. “We know that having pets is very good for mental health. It seems to reduce stress and help with social problems,” Lee said. “So I wouldn’t advise people to do anything different. Because you probably would lose more than you would gain.”
There’s a lot more research to be done, so for now, just keep being crazy cat people like us!