This just in: Cats are not linked to an increased risk of mental illness. (note to self: cancel shrink appt.)
You may recall some recent research that suggested that cat stewardship makes you crazy because cats are host to Toxoplasma Gondii (T. Gondii). The parasite, commonly found in cat crap, is linked to mental health problems such as schizophrenia.
A new study published in the journal, Psychological Medicine, claims that owning a cat during in pregnancy and childhood does not play a role in developing psychotic symptoms during adolescence.
While the study did not find a link between T. Gondii and mental health, it can still cause other serious problems during pregnancy or in early childhood, including birth defects and miscarriages. Doctors recommend pregnant women continue to avoid soiled cat litter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “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 usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.”