It wasn’t just that great Simpson’s episode featuring the crazy woman with the cats that made us think cat ladies were crazy. It’s actually backed, until recently, by science. The common parasite toxoplasma gondii is one that’s commonly carried by cats, and researchers had linked that with mental health issues and, thus, the crazy cat theory was born. Though recently, Researchers at the University College in London found no link with psychotic symptoms.
The parasite, associated with an increased risk of suicide in people bitten by their pets, had garnered a pretty bad name for people stockpiling furry felines in their homes. However, given the breadth of the most recent study, which looked at almost 5,000 people until the age of 18 and found no conclusive evidence, it’s relatively safe to say people aren’t going loopy if they start to buy more cats.
Lead author Dr Francesca Solmi, from UCL, said: ‘The message for cat owners is clear – there is no evidence that cats pose a risk to children’s mental health. ‘In our study, initial unadjusted analyses suggested a small link between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms at age 13, but this turned out to be due to other factors. Once we controlled for factors such as household over-crowding and socioeconomic status, the data showed that cats were not to blame. Previous studies reporting links between cat ownership and psychosis simply failed to adequately control for other possible explanations.”