Is your cat making you crazy?

By Connie Orcutt • Published: July 2nd, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Recent media reports suggest that toxoplasmosis causes brain disease in people, and cats are the source. But let’s take a closer look.

Toxoplasma is a parasite that must pass through a cat to complete its infectious cycle. Once inside another animal or a person, toxoplasma can cause disease or lay low. In people, the most common sources of toxoplasmosis are contaminated soil, undercooked meat and unwashed vegetables. Cat feces can be a culprit, too, but that’s less common.

As for a direct link between toxoplasmosis and brain lesions, the jury is out. But toxoplasmosis can cause serious disease, especially in immunosuppressed people and developing fetuses.

Help avoid infection by washing produce and cooking meat thoroughly. Wear gloves when cleaning litter boxes and gardening, especially if you’re pregnant. Keeping cats indoors is recommended, too.