“Your cats are making you crazy” may sound like the beginning of a joke, but there is science behind it. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite passed in faeces by infected cats that can work its way into your brain and make you act irrationally.
Sai Kung’s Dr Rob Gordon of the Animal Medical Clinic confirms this is true. See his comments below.
Toxo, for short, can enter your body if you ingest water, soil or food that has come into contact with infected animals’ faecal matter. It can get into your brain and is believed to cause mayhem from car wrecks to suicide to schizophrenia.
Toxo is the reason why pregnant women are advised to avoid cat litter boxes. If the parasite gets into the foetus it can cause brain damage or death.
One scientist who has made a name for himself studying this disease is Dr Jaroslav Flegr. He believes he is a sufferer, infected by the bug that has altered his behaviour. Other famous Toxo victims are, or were, Arthur Ashe, Sebastian Coe and Martina Navratiliva.
Dr Rob who runs the veterinary clinic around the corner from Centro gave SAI KUNG BUZZ these comments:
“There is a strong correlation between the incidence of toxo and the number of cats in a household — mad cat ladies are commonly infected with toxo. The disease seems to increase our ‘fondness’ for cats…
“Daily cleaning of cat sand boxes also reduces infection rates significantly. The toxoplasmosis spore takes a few days to become infective once shed in the faeces.
“Washing hands or wearing gloves when gardening or cleaning cat boxes is the single most effective way of minimising infection.
“Avoid feeding your cat raw meat or eating raw meat. This is a major route of infection for humans.
“Immunocompromised people and pregnant women should be extra cautious when handling cats, especially their faeces. It would be better not to clean litter boxes, and for those that have, take care when digging soil in the garden.”