To people who can get past their mood swings, cats are truly awesome pets. It like they can do no wrong. But as it turns out, there may be a downside to owning these magical creatures…
And it comes in the form of a very strange disease.
Scientists now claim there may be a downside to having cats around. It’s called T. gondii, and most cats carry it.
T. gondii is a parasite present in the waste of most cats, and it can alter the brains of certain animals.
Mice normally use their sense of smell to avoid cat urine. But once they’re infected with T. gondii, their brain is altered so that they start actually being drawn to the scent of cats – which inevitably doesn’t end well for the mice.
Having the infected mouse be eaten by a cat is beneficial to the parasites, since cats are the only hosts where that allow them to reproduce.
These mind-altering parasites are able to infect humans as well, and that’s where things get even more bizarre.
While T. gondii parasites can’t reproduce in a human host, they can still cause mild toxoplasmosis… and possibly lead to the development of mental illness.
In a recent study in the journal Schizophrenia Research, scientists found a link between people who had been exposed to cats from a young age and the development of mental illness later in life.
This latest study is the third to come to this same conclusion.