Consider yourself a cat lady?
You may want to reconsider keeping the cat litter indoors (or going anywhere near it).
A new study from the University of Maryland shows that women infected with Toxoplasma gondii parasite (which is present in cat feces) are one and a half times more likely to attempt suicide compared to those who are not infected.
“We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies,’ says Teodor T. Postolache, M.D., the senior author and an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. ‘We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.’
Want to stay safe?
It’s not just cat litter you need to avoid.
The parasite can also be transmitted from unwashed vegetables, drinking water from a contaminated source and, most commonly, by eating undercooked or raw meat that is infested with cysts.
Since I’m already a dog person (and a vegetarian) I guess I just need to make sure I wash my vegetables thoroughly, oh’and start avoiding all my cat-loving friends’ apartments.
What about you? Are you a cat person? Does this study worry you?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor