View Full Version : A word of caution about cats

08-18-2012, 09:28 PM

Cat parasite that worms into humans' brains can drive victims to suicide

A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests.

Scientists have shown that men and women infected with a bug that breeds in cats' stomachs and worms into people's brains are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than others.

They say that Toxoplasma gondii may tinker with the delicate chemistry of the brain and screening people for it could help identify those at risk of taking their own lives.

The parasite, which is carried by many Britons, has a complicated life cycle but can only breed inside cats. The microscopic eggs are passed on in cat faeces, spreading the infection.

Pregnant women are advised not to empty cat litter trays because the parasite can be fatal to unborn babies. The bug can also be picked up from contaminated food.

Around a third of people worldwide carry the parasite, with most catching it by consuming undercooked meat, especially lamb, pork and venison or by ingesting water, soil or anything contaminated by cat faeces.

Scientists looked for evidence of the infection in the blood of 84 men and women, more than half of whom had tried to commit suicide.

Dr Lena Brundin, of Michigan State University, said: 'We found that if you are positive for the parasite, you are seven times more likely to commit suicide.'

She said that the parasite, which has previously been linked to brain cancer, schizophrenia and personality disorders, may inflame the brain or tamper with its chemistry, including levels of the 'feel-good' chemical dopamine.

Those behind the latest study stressed that not everyone who is infected will be suicidal. However, they said if the link is confirmed, screening for the bug could make it easier to determine which mental health patients are at the greatest risk of attempting suicide.

Knowing more about the biology that precedes suicide could also lead to the creation of better anti-depressants.

Dr Brundin said: 'It means we can develop new treatments to prevent suicides and patients can feel hope that maybe we can help them.'

08-18-2012, 09:31 PM

08-19-2012, 06:07 AM
Another word of caution: they make crappy pets.

08-19-2012, 06:24 AM
I think when women are pregnant they get checked for this parasite. But as someone else already mentioned, cats are crappy pets. I've never owned one and have only met 1 cat that was tolerable to be around.

08-19-2012, 08:01 AM
If you don't like cats, I think you haven't met the cat that is right for you. Our cats are lovely. But, they were raised to be that way. You can even wear one as a hat.

They only tested 84 people, is that enough to warrant fear about this? Plus, you can get this parasite from a myriad of different places, not just cats. I worry that this will justify abuse or the killing of cats by some (crazy) people.

08-19-2012, 08:04 AM
This study makes me want to end it all.

--goodbye cruel world.

(a cat owner)

08-19-2012, 09:09 AM
Whenever someone talks about a cat as though it is a pet, somewhere a Jedi gets a gut punch from the Force. This is the not so subtle reminder that the Jedi have always been, and will always be, inferior to the Dark Overlords of the Universe.

My lovely serves a cat. As for me, I simply intend to outlast the little satan in a fur coat.

08-19-2012, 10:13 AM
My cat is great, especially with kids and new people. He really likes people who are allergic. :D

08-19-2012, 10:22 AM
I had a cat that I swore was going to outlive me, he died at age 19 or 20. On a side not reading the politics forum makes me want to commit suicide at times LOL

08-20-2012, 09:13 PM
I think when women are pregnant they get checked for this parasite. But as someone else already mentioned, cats are crappy pets. I've never owned one and have only met 1 cat that was tolerable to be around.

Siamese cats meow a lot and demand more attention than alley cats, so may be a nuisance to have around for some people. Ordinary homeless street cats that let you approach them to pet them without running away can make nice pets to adopt. So if you don't like cats, don't try to pet a homeless one from the street. It may charm you.

08-20-2012, 09:18 PM
But as someone else already mentioned, cats are crappy pets. I've never owned one and have only met 1 cat that was tolerable to be around.

Here's the simple truth about cats: It's easy to love your own but hard to love someone else's.

People that don't like cats are usually people that have never had one.

I'm the biggest dog lover you'll ever meet but I'll tell anyone who listens that cats are completely underrated.

08-20-2012, 09:20 PM
My brother is a cat lover but I'm not. When I visit him I can tolerate his cats but I come home with my clothes covered in cat hair. I just couldn't live that way all of the time.

08-21-2012, 10:42 AM
I think you have to have a certain personality to like cats. A lot of children don't like cats because they want to be able to pick up a cat whenever they feel like it and are offended when the cat doesn't also feel like it. Cats in my experience are much better pets than dogs for someone with a busy lifestyle. I have 13 hour days so letting a dog in and out is not really something I'd be able to do, and having an outside dog can be problematic too. Many of them dig your yard up in frustration, chew your garden hoses and anything else they can get ahold of, bark relentlessly, and they get dirty/smelly. In fact, a neighbor's dog kept me up half the night barking just last night. I'm pretty sure my neighbors don't even know I have cats unless they've seen one sunning in the window. I feed them once a day, clean their boxes when needed, and they sit on my lap in the evenings when I watch tv. That's pretty much the extent of our interaction. haha. Oh, and they also take care of any bugs or mice that come in the house. That's pretty sweet too. That doesn't mean I don't like dogs, I looove dogs. If I come over to a friend's house I probably hang out with the dog more than the friend. I just don't want to live with one and be responsible for all that.