So the upside to not going out on weekend nights and working, is that I get to hear super informative stories on the radio (I’m kidding….cause these things really don’t equate). But in fact sometimes I do hear really interesting things on the radio. Yeah, the radio….and it isn’t even satellite.
The other evening on my ride home while all my other friends were probably out drinking away their weeks and meeting the men of their dreams (hahah….a hilarious notion in Los Angeles), this story came on about Parasites. Gross, I know. Someone was actually talking about putting these worms he poops into people’s stomaches to cure disease. Um, no thanks. But then this story started called “The Scratch” about a woman who was pregnant and was scratched by her cat.
The Scratch (full audio…it’s radio, so no image DUH)
So if you don’t feel like listening to the above, basically this woman gets scratched by her cat, and the problem is that he has poop in his paw. (making a gross thing like a cat even grosser…eww). And the real problem is that the baby can get very sick if the mom gets toxoplasmosis. So the woman consults an expert, who explains that toxo doesn’t want to be in her, it wants to be in cats. But when cats poop, the parasite exits in the poop (sorry this is gross, but I have my point, I promise). And commonly, the expert says, the cat will poop outside, a rat will eat the poop and that is what most often gets infected with toxo.
But this is where it gets super interesting. The toxo travels to the rat’s brain and takes over the Amygdala. And for those of you that don’t remember what the Amygdala is from the amazing Ashley Judd/ Hugh Jackman film, Someone Like You, the amygdala is involved in the processing of emotions such as fear, anger and pleasure.
And what the toxo parasite does by controlling the amygdala in the rat is tricks the it into thinking it is attracted to cats! Meaning that when your cat brings a dead rat into the house, it’s probably not because it was chasing the rat down….rather the rat was attracted to your cat!
So what does this have to do with cats and people? Well, they aren’t entirely sure yet, but there is some believe that Schizophrenia is linked to this toxoplasmosis in humans. Now if you are like, what??? This makes no sense, let’s think this out for a sec. Piece by Piece. Now for a recent example of Schizophrenia in the news, I point to Amanda Bynes. We all think of Amanda Bynes as normal, as the funny girl on All That!, and somehow Colin Firth’s daughter in What a Girl Wants. But lately she has been doing things like burning random people’s driveways and her dog, throwing bongs out windows, and the worst offense, walking outside with these wigs.
So think of it this way, let’s say a person got a cat, which then infected them with Toxo. It could then make them feel like they loved cats, always had to be around cats, had to get more, and more, and more cats!!!! Well, pretty soon that could be the crazy lady with 25 cats, who talks to them like real people, only things her cats matter, and thinks dogs are out to get her babies (her cats). And, oh, maybe that Tom and Jerry are real?
So fair warning, if you already own one cat, and are about to get another…..maybe get checked for a parasite before you become
the little old lady with a billion cats that everyone thinks is nuts….that person that just is a little bit too into her cats!