Cats are cute, adorable, huggable that’s why women love them, but a new study in Denmark found that they can also make cat ladies suicidal.
According to reports, the study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry this week suggests that women who own cats run a higher risk of having mental health problems and suicide attempts because of a parasite that can be caught from cat feces.
The study which involved 45,000 women in Denmark found that women infected with T. gondii were one-and-a-half times more likely to attempt suicide compared to those who were not infected, and the risk seemed to rise with increasing levels of the T. gondii antibodies.
“We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies,” lead researcher Teodor Postolache, a psychiatrist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.”
About one-third of the world’s population are believed to be infected with T. gondii. It can be transmitted to humans by changing their infected cats’ litter boxes, eating undercooked or raw meat and unwashed vegetables. Once ingested, the parasite spreads from the intestine, to muscle and brain tissues.