Cat owners, beware: A parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, found in feline feces could not only make you physically sick, but also mentally so, according to new study.
The study confirmed that owning a cat early in life could boost the risk of developing schizophrenia
and bipolar disorder
later. "Cat ownership in childhood has now been reported in three studies to be significantly more common in families in which the child is later diagnosed with schizophrenia or another serious mental illness," the authors say. "In schizophrenia, the evidence of an association with T. gondii is overwhelming."
In a separate study, researchers found a person infected with T. gondii was almost twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as others. They also found the parasite was linked to a greater risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction, reports Medical News Today.
Previous studies have shown that the parasite has changed also the way the brain of a mice works. Mice usually hate and fear cats. But when they're infected with Toxoplasma gondii, they are no longer afraid of cat smells, so they may walk to up a cat and that means the cat catches the mouse!!
So what can cat-loving parents do? Children can be protected by keeping their cat exclusively indoors and always covering the sandbox when not in use. It’s also best to change the litter daily, since T. gondii is not infectious until one to five days after it’s shed in feces.
For more about the study, click here