As a long time cat owner, this news rattled me quite a bit. According to researchers from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, cats, specifically their feces, have been linked to a parasite that can put children at risk for the development of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The parasite known as toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) has been linked through more than fifty studies as making someone twice as likely to develop schizophrenia. Additionally, another study by Dr. Robert H. Yolken of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore confirmed that half of the people who owned cats as children in 1982 were diagnosed with mental illnesses later in life.
Now, the parasite is also found in undercooked meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables, so do not go and re-home your cat just yet in an effort to protect your children. There are hundreds of other factors that go into an individual’s risk of developing schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. As someone who grew up with the weirdest cat known to man as a child and having not developed either mental illnesses (so far…), I am sure it is still quite safe to bring little Felix home and keep him in the house.