Source: Love Cute Animals
There's a solid chance your cat is actually brainwashing you, thanks to the power of biology. Dog lovers listen up; this is prime fuel for your cats versus dog debates!
Meet Toxoplasma gondii: It's one of the most widespread parasitic protozoa in the world, with nearly 60 million people in this country carrying it. Once an animal is infected by T. gondii, the parasite forms cysts in the animal's tissues. Most infected organisms appear normal, until a compromised immune system allows the parasite to take over, resulting in a disease called Toxoplasmosis. The only place it can reproduce is in the intestines of cats, where it produces millions of oocytes that are shed through the cat's feces-- and here's where the crazy part comes in.
Source: Rosemary Sturdy Illustration
Pop science has asserted that the same fatal attraction that occurs in rodents also pops up in infected humans: some even claim that T. gondii is responsible for the "crazy cat lady" phenomenon, since women are more likely to be infected than men.
While those claims are largely without evidence, there has been some tentative research suggesting that Toxoplasmosis is linked to reckless behavior, and disturbingly, schizophrenia. Others speculate that Toxoplasmosis may have had a role in forming entire cultures!
Before you panic, unless your immune system is compromised in some way or you are pregnant, there is no reason to fear. Toxoplasmosis generally does not develop in infected but otherwise healthy humans. However, pregnant women are advised to avoid cleaning litter boxes.
So, if you've always suspected that there was something nefarious going on in that grumpy cat's mind, you could very well be right!
Written by Coral C., HW Assistant; Team Cat