First of all, you don’t need to take them out every single morning and evening and secondly, you can leave them alone for a couple of days if you are away. Plus, there are many articles out there and even studies showing that cat owners have a reduced risk of heart attack and are less likely to suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or depression.
However, it seems that owning a cat is not all fun and games, according to a recent study published in this month’s edition of the journal Schizophrenia Research. The research reveals that having a cat during childhood might increase your chances of developing schizophrenia later in life.
The researchers analyzed the data collected in two studies that also dealt with the connection between cat ownership during childhood and being diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life. The two studies were compared with a survey from 1982, which was not published.
“The results were the same, suggesting that cat ownership in childhood is significantly more common in families in which the child later becomes seriously mentally ill,” said the members of the team of researchers from John Hopkins University, who conducted the study.
The reason for this is that cat owners are more exposed to the parasite found in cat feces, called Toxoplasma gondii.
This parasite is known to be able to infect any living creature who is warm-blooded. Because the people make no exception to this, they are very exposed to its effects.
The parasite is considered to be extremely dangerous for people who don’t have a strong immune system. The most affected ones are children, pregnant women and older people. Its most serious effects include blindness, miscarriage or abnormal development of the fetus.
The number of people who are currently affected by the parasites is extremely high. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention there are about 60 million people infected with the parasite in the United States.
Therefore, it is important to protect yourself and your children against the parasite by changing the cat’s litter box every day, washing your hands after you’ve touched it, not eating unwashed fruit and vegetables and keeping the cat indoors to protect it from infections.
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