Sweet adorable cats, everyone loves them, well almost everybody. The Human Society of the United States acknowledges that 86.4 million Americans own cats. Dogs come in second, 78.4 million Americans prefer dogs. But getting back to the cat, the main reason why I suspect cats are preferred over dogs because they are easier to care for. You don’t have to give them a bath or take them for a walk. All you have to do is make sure their litter box is clean. Speaking of the litter box…
The litter box
A cat’s feces are loaded with all types of parasites making the cat more dangerous than the dog. One particular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii), lives in the cat feces. T. gondii is found worldwide, infecting many people in Germany and France. This parasite needs to live within warm-blooded mammals. This is the primary reason why pregnant women should not change the litter box.
Humans can contract Toxoplasma gondii in other ways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list Toxoplasmosis as “…a leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illnesses in the United States…more than 60 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few have symptoms because the immune system keeps the parasite from causing illness...” Some meats, particularly lamb, pork, and venison tend to be infected with T.gondii making it imperative that the meat be well-done before eating. Children playing outside should be sure not to put unclean hands in their mouth.
According to Parasites in Humans, Toxoplasma gondii is known to increase aggression in humans. Experiments have shown that rats infected with T.gondii were not afraid of cats. Analysis of human chemistry shows a connection between mental health and toxoplasmosis. It has come to the attention of the scientific community that this parasite may somehow influence human behavior. Stephanie Pappas noted in her report for LiveScience, that a study on Danish women showed them to be more prone to contemplate suicide because they were unknowingly infected with the parasite. Women who actually committed suicide was later found to be infected with the T.gondii parasite. It is said that the parasite tends to exercise some type of mind control over it’s hosts.
Feel like throwing in the towel?
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms long after flu season is over, suddenly find yourself feeling the blues or feel like life is not worth living, get yourself checked out. It might not be you; it could be your beloved feline making you sick.