30 years ago scientists found a connection between a parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is carried by cats and schizophrenia in humans. This was confirmed again by a recent study.
It is estimated that over 60 million of people is unaware that they have this parasite. This parasite is passed to humans trough contact with cats.
People can suffer from illness known as toxoplasmosis which further causes other diseases and is related to schizophrenia, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The latest study published in Schizophrenia Research analyzed the link discovered in earlier studies between childhood cat ownership and development of schizophrenia later in life.
The results showed that there is a risk of being diagnosed with a mental illness later in life if a person had a cat as a child.
Another study has shown that a person carrying Toxoplasma gondii is two times more prone to developing a mental disorder like schizophrenia.
But all those cat lovers should not worry much because they can take certain precautions. Cats litter box should be covered when not in use and it also has to be changed daily since cats can excrete millions of infected eggs and Toxoplasma gondii becomes infectious after 1 to 5 days.
Cats shouldn’t be fed with raw or undercooked food. It is recommended that pregnant women should take extra precaution when cleaning litter boxes.