Dear Chairman Meow, is “crazy cat lady syndrome” actually real? Please educate me with your vast knowledge. – Jim S. of Winfield, PA
Yes, Jim, it’s a real thing. Allow Chairman Meow to educate you about a tiny parasite, called toxoplasma gondii, that creates crazy cat ladies who hoard many kittehs.
How toxoplasmosis helps cats control humans:
There are many ways that a kitty can take control of humans, turning them into mere servants.
While good old fashioned psychic-kitteh mind control usually is enough to break the will of any human, recently scientists have become wise to one of their sneakier methods; a parasite found in their poop called, Toxoplasma gondii.
What is toxoplasma gondii?
Toxoplasma gondii is a microbe commonly found in cat poop.
How does the toxo get into a cat in the first place, you ask? Toxo is initially found in infected mice, so outdoor or barn cats who catch mice are more prone to contracting it.
Actually, toxo seems to slow mice down, so your cat is more likely to catch an infected mouse than a healthy one.
If ingested by humans, it causes toxoplasmosis; (aka t. gondii, or toxo) a disease that causes flu-like symptoms, especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems. “Toxo” is the reason pregnant women are told to stay away from litter boxes.
Scientists used to believe that people with strong immune systems quickly fought off toxo, and it just went dormant after being defeated. However, shocking recent evidence from scientists like Jaroslav Flegr suggest otherwise.
Toxoplasma gondii – It’s All In Your Head
It seems that scientists have vastly underestimated this organism, which may be affecting the behavior of millions of humans around the world by literally getting into their heads. In fact, the CDC estimates that some 60 million Americans are carrying the Toxoplasma parasite.
Although few people have symptoms, it’s thought that toxoplasma gondii can affect and control the connections between neurons in our brains, directly impacting our actions and emotions; possibly even turning us into “crazy cat ladies.” (and gentlemen)
Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome & Toxoplasmosis
Toxo is likely what puts the “crazy” in crazy cat lady, causing OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) depression, cat hoarding, and even an increased rate of suicide.
In male cat owners, toxo infection can affect behavior; encouraging anti-social behavior such as suspicion and withdrawal.
It’s as if toxo wants you to isolate yourself with cats to improve your chances of being eaten by one!
So, why does Toxo want to get in our heads?
The only place that Toxo can sexually reproduce is inside a cat, and it seems to know that. It appears that toxo takes over the brain of it’s host in an attempt to get back into a cat.
And, it’s not just humans that Toxo controls. Infected rodents become less cautious, more active, and have delayed reaction times; making them easier prey for cats.
Also, these infected rodents are actually attracted to the smell of cat urine, which normally should signal danger.
It’s as if the parasite is leading them into the belly of the cat where it can then reproduce!
This may also be why if you die alone with a house cat, they will only wait a day or two to start eating you; (known as “postmortem predation”) dogs will wait much longer.
Toxoplasmosis & schizophrenia
Toxo also seems to be a trigger for schizophrenia in people who are already genetically susceptible. Recent tests also implied a link between childhood exposure to cats and schizophrenia, and many schizophrenia patients have also tested positive for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii.
In fact, schizophrenia itself didn’t become a commonly diagnosed disease until the late 18th Century; the same time that house cats became popular pets. Coincidence?
Does Chairman Meow Spread Toxoplasma gondii?
Chairman Meow denies intentionally spreading Toxoplasma gondii to soften the brains of humans; turning them into mindless kitty puppets. (Although he does admit to pooping in neighborhood sandboxes, and in an occasional Starbucks.)
More about Toxoplasma gondii
- How Your Cat is Making You Crazy – The Atlantic
- Cat Lady Conundrum – (Toxo) New York Times
- Toxoplasmosis Prevention