In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of buzz over a study done on cat ladies and suicide. Headlines in digital and real ink screamed that becoming a cat lady could cause you commit suicide. Cat poop contains a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (which causes good old toxoplasmosis) and now the parasite is being blamed for mental health problems in women.
There have been several past medical studies stating that, for the most part, T. gondii passes through the non-pregnant adult human body without causing any harm. 80% of adults infected will show no symptoms at all. The big exceptions would be for pregnant women and for children under 5, which may stick dog, cat or wild animal poop in their mouths. Then, the T. gondii can cause eye damage. However, many places only allow pet cats to live indoors. Also, T. gondii is found in contaminated water, raw meat and raw goat’s milk — not just cat poop. But the laws do allow small children and pregnant women to live with smokers, alcoholics and raw meat. Yea, cat poop’s a killer.
If cat poop is so bad for you, than why don’t the vast majority of cat owners kill themselves or try to kill themselves? I’ve grown up with lots of pets, including cats, and they really help comfort someone with depression. Pets help to give a reason to get out of bed, which is exceptionally hard to do when you’re depressed. Pets can also give you a huge reason not to commit suicide, because who would take care of the pets if you killed yourself?
A warning against owning cats seems to be, at most, a tempest in a teapot. If cats were human, they could sue.