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Still Waters

Is house cat poo making humans crazy?

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I guess the human race is in trouble, because cats are now the most common pet. But I'm skeptical of the study results at this point. Besides, animal hoarders (the really crazy ones) have dogs, birds, rodents, etc. - not always cats.

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Someone’s social life or motor cortex related skills can suck for a number of reasons, and it’s almost never just one factor that screws them up.

The article is dripping with Jiri’s insecurity.

My point is that a human, as an organism and as a person, cannot possibly be reduced to one factor only. That’s the flaw of theory from the OP.

I'm highlighting the points here that once again make me think you haven't even bothered to read the article, therefore I'm not going to continue debating this with you. I will at least answer why I get the impression you skipped the article.

One, his name is not Jiri (coincidentally that IS my Czech roommates name,) the man the article is about is named Jaroslav Flegr. Jiri Horacek is a Psychiatrist mentioned in the last paragraph.

And again, the only person mentioning only one factor being involved is you. In fact, Flegr seemed to specifically say that this is NOT what happens.

So before coming to Prague, I’d gotten tested for the parasite, but I didn’t yet know the results. It seemed a good time to see what his intuition would tell me. “Can you guess from observing someone whether they have the parasite—myself, for example?,” I ask.

“No,” he says, “the parasite’s effects on personality are very subtle.” If, as a woman, you were introverted before being infected, he says, the parasite won’t turn you into a raving extrovert. It might just make you a little less introverted.

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Bane, because I don’t buy the contents in the way you think I should you think I didn’t read it?

Your opinion is different than mine, but I see nothing strange in the fact that we both read the same text and drew different conclusions. I also don't look for parasites that pushed your brain into working in ways different than mine.

So I read it alright, and what a waste of time it was, only I understood what’s between the lines too.

I didn’t bother to remember if it was Jaroslav or Jiri, true. Because it doesn’t matter. I like Vaclav better than Jiri or Jaroslav anyway.

You chose great quote from the article to help you get what I’m saying.

See, even Jiri... sorry, Jaroslav... admits that possible personality changes are subtle, yet the article is bombastically announcing people driven mad by cat ****.

If I was in his place, I wouldn’t allow such sensationalist prostitution of my work.

Do you get me now?

Don’t get me started about “typical Toxo male” and wet dreams about obedient “typical Toxo females”. Guy has evident problems of un-parasitic nature.

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PROPAGANDA !!!!! It is ALL pure propaganda against our furry little feline friends! All you have to do is look at the photograph of the guy that wrote this article to know that something is not right with him - no doubt his brains are twisted and he is totally nuts. This is not even worth commenting on, don't know why I stopped to comment.

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Bane, because I don’t buy the contents in the way you think I should you think I didn’t read it?

Your opinion is different than mine,

No, my issue is that you were stating something that was specified by the man in the exact opposite way of what he said. The same issue I would have if an article was written about someone saying an apple was red, and someone comes along trashing the article because the guy thinks apples are blue when they're obviously red. The main complaint, about it being ludicrous to say one thing caused a dramatic personality change, is the exact opposite of what the guy said. The definition of strawman really.

Though to be fair, in his personal life it very well could be what he truly believes. It doesn't seem like it would be a huge jump for him, I just won't draw a conclusion like that without actual evidence.

If I was in his place, I wouldn’t allow such sensationalist prostitution of my work.

Do you get me now?

On this I agree. But I'm mostly trying to give up on complaining about modern journalism and just read through the stories for what's actually going on underneath. The sensationalism in our "news" today is ridiculous. Most news agencies are practically Hollywood "based on a true story" write ups.

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I'm probably going to get a lot of heat for this one but in a way I think it may be possible! My only theory is based solely on the show Hoarders! Almost EVERY person on the show has more than 3 or 4 cats and a lot of times they're in the dozens. I don't believe having 1 - 3 cats is at all causing any ailments if their boxes are kept BUT if there are so many cats running around the house that there is feces all over the joint then I could definitely see an issue. A lot of the people on the show have mental disorders (which is mostly driven by traumatic past events)but the feces can't be helping!

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@69dinner42 - I agree. It does seem a bit of a stretched but certainly seems to be plausible from what I read. It certainly could warrant further study and if more evidence is found perhaps some treatment can be found. Not to poo poo the skeptics but my gut says there might be something to this.

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No, my issue is that you were stating something that was specified by the man in the exact opposite way of what he said. The same issue I would have if an article was written about someone saying an apple was red, and someone comes along trashing the article because the guy thinks apples are blue when they're obviously red. The main complaint, about it being ludicrous to say one thing caused a dramatic personality change, is the exact opposite of what the guy said. The definition of strawman really.

Though to be fair, in his personal life it very well could be what he truly believes. It doesn't seem like it would be a huge jump for him, I just won't draw a conclusion like that without actual evidence.

On this I agree. But I'm mostly trying to give up on complaining about modern journalism and just read through the stories for what's actually going on underneath. The sensationalism in our "news" today is ridiculous. Most news agencies are practically Hollywood "based on a true story" write ups.

I'm glad we agree on sensationalism.

Now the colour of the apple. I think I'm not the colourblind one here, because:

He admits the apple is red (changes are not dramatic) but at the same time he sees it blue (“typical Toxo” males and females around him, relation to traffic accidents, claims Toxo can change brain structure).

Theory based on contradictions simply begs to be trashed. Author has to make up his mind, whether it’s subtle (not news, stated in the article) or it’s puppeteering your brain (unsubstantiated, contradictive to subtle, stated in the same article).

Then comes the journalist and slaps “OMG, kitty litter kills” type of headline on it.

Personally, I’m far more worried about effects such science and such journalism have on people’s minds than some Toxoplasmosis.

See comments in this thread if you have any doubts.

(I’d also recommend Echinococcus granulosus as next candidate for this week’s scary science story. That’s some serious parasitic ****, everything about it is very substantiated and can make you start compulsively wash your hands after just thinking about it :D )

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One look at the scientist changed my opinion quite quickly , this chum looks like hes been the laughing stock of every science seminar since the 4th grade, and now this is his last chance to impress the masses ... Whats he come with , Cat poop makes you crazy ... Well they always said theres a thin line between insanity and genius.

Meow

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Fair Enough

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I have long suspected cats were evil.

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One look at the scientist changed my opinion quite quickly , this chum looks like hes been the laughing stock of every science seminar since the 4th grade, and now this is his last chance to impress the masses ... Whats he come with , Cat poop makes you crazy ... Well they always said theres a thin line between insanity and genius.

Meow

I'm so glad that you're basing your opinions on how the scientist looks and the back story that you've made for him.

Really solid basis there.

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Indeed! I've always felt the things that cat owners say is just plain poopy talk. And now I have scientific evidence backing it up.

Seriously though, the epidemic of cat overpopulation in this country and elsewhere is a scourge that needs to end. Uneducated people will think I'm cold blooded for saying that when I'm a humane animal lover with a clue. Irresponsible pet owners create hordes of unfixed and uncared for cats that in turn reproduce even more unfixed and uncared for cats and if that wasn't bad enough, our response is to feed them fish that are going extinct out of a can. And that's because they're cute little kitty cats with little wet noses and pointy ears and...oh bloody friggin hell.

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Leave the cats alone !!! This story is nonsense !!!!

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It’s annoying but interesting to see how widespread is distrust towards cats (mushroom, women, redheads, etc.). Rooted in long outdated superstitions, this distrust needs scientific backup today and here it is.

Never mind the ****load of other zoonoses you can contract, it’s the evil cats that will drive you insane and puppeteer your brain.

Pathetic.

Wash your hands, do not snort kitty litter and you won’t get Toxoplasmosis. It’s not the tool of the devil, it’s a freaking parasite, it won’t chase you down the street to bite your ass and zombify you. Grow up, Freudians.

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It’s annoying but interesting to see how widespread is distrust towards cats (mushroom, women, redheads, etc.). Rooted in long outdated superstitions, this distrust needs scientific backup today and here it is.

Never mind the ****load of other zoonoses you can contract, it’s the evil cats that will drive you insane and puppeteer your brain.

Pathetic.

Wash your hands, do not snort kitty litter and you won’t get Toxoplasmosis. It’s not the tool of the devil, it’s a freaking parasite, it won’t chase you down the street to bite your ass and zombify you. Grow up, Freudians.

Yes, how dare people point out what is possible! I mean, don't box bears and you won't get mauled, therefore we can conclude that bears are harmless! It's a study pointing out that this thing exists, and can have an effect on people.

Seriously, it's not like anybody is suggesting (not tongue in cheek) that cats are planning a revolution to take over the world.

I think you're the only one here making a mountain out of a molehill.

Edited by Dougal

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There are theories linking parasites to cancers also. I doubt that we know enough about these little critters to rule them out.

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Yes, how dare people point out what is possible! I mean, don't box bears and you won't get mauled, therefore we can conclude that bears are harmless! It's a study pointing out that this thing exists, and can have an effect on people.

Seriously, it's not like anybody is suggesting (not tongue in cheek) that cats are planning a revolution to take over the world.

I think you're the only one here making a mountain out of a molehill.

I agree with the possible part, the paranoid stuff is annoying me.

Reread my posts and you will find that out yourself.

Meanwhile, for the umpteenth time and Im not giving up just because the paranoid brigade refuses to understand the obvious in first, second or seventh reading the theory and the article from the OP are illogical and contradictory.

The changes are subtle, yet they puppeteer patients brain.

So which is it? Subtle or puppeteering?

You cant have both, for simple logic sake.

So we have a mountain here, huge mountain of unsubstantiated crap. A tea spoon of statistic data, criminally skewed to serve your purpose (traffic accidents frequency), a bag of superstition and authors personal mental issues (typical Toxo females, all submissive and horny), mix with a lot of hot air and there it is. The mountain. Climb it and youll see wonderful scenery of a world where its not your fault, its the hidden enemy that screwed your life up. Sure. It's easier to live with your shortcomings if it was all mamma's/devil's/cats'/Russians'/Yeti's fault. Only it's so immature it's not even funny, it's more sad.

Everything that gets into the brain and doesnt normally belong there is most likely affecting your behaviour. Its not news.

Now, how long it takes for you guys to understand the minor changes, like those you can get from slightly elevated body temperature for example, are not the same as the huge change you get from having a nail hammered through your scull? Theres a difference, you know.

Opinion based on I knew cats are evil is laughable, and though its morbidly amusing, its also scary to see how many people are that immune to logic.

Which, the logic, is what I based my opinion on.

Please do give me a reason to dissect that one more time.

Edit: oops, sorry, I forgot to comment on bears. Yes, do not poke them and they will remain harmless for you. Do not model their **** into neat little figurines and you won’t get any of their parasites (which they are full of). Do not inhale their dry crap and so on.

Was this clear enough? I can simplify it further only if I resort to crude drawings, which I will do if you insist, I'm friendly and adaptable person.

Edited by Helen of Annoy

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I fail to see how it's illogical or full of crap? The guy says that the parasites may affect behaviour, however it's subtle and you'd need about 50 infected and 50 uninfected to see any statistical differences.

I also don't see how something can't be subtle and puppeteer you, puppeteering doesn't have to suddenly change everything about you, it can change small things that people are unlikely to notice, but still something out of character for you.

Where exactly do you see the author's "personal mental issues" in this? He quite clearly says that it's not going to turn an introvert woman into an extrovert one, rather just make them slightly less introverted. I also don't see anywhere in the article (while since I read it and not got time to go through it all now so if I've missed it please just pull me up on it :) ) where it says it makes women horny.

Just because there's a difference between a nail in the head and something more subtle does that mean we should ignore it?

Now I'll admit that the article is a little sensationalist, but that doesn't mean that the study done is all rubbish that can be brushed away.

Perhaps I'm wrong here but I assume that when people reply with "I knew cats were evil!" they're joking, I for one don't honestly think that cats are evil (although I don't trust the little blighters! ;) ;) )

But it's all ok for people to pull out ad hominem attacks on the author's mental conditions and appearance, and suggest that he's been bullied for years and this is his attempt to impress the world?

If you read the entire article you'll also note this little piece towards the end

Even Flegr would advise against that. Indoor cats pose no threat, he says, because they don’t carry the parasite. As for outdoor cats, they shed the parasite for only three weeks of their life, typically when they’re young and have just begun hunting. During that brief period, Flegr simply recommends taking care to keep kitchen counters and tables wiped clean. (He practices what he preaches: he and his wife have two school-age children, and two outdoor cats that have free roam of their home.) Much more important for preventing exposure, he says, is to scrub vegetables thoroughly and avoid drinking water that has not been properly purified, especially in the developing world, where infection rates can reach 95 percent in some places. Also, he advises eating meat on the well-done side—or, if that’s not to your taste, freezing it before cooking, to kill the cysts.

Infact, after skimming over this article again, I'd venture so far as to say that Jaroslav hardly mentions cats, he points out several ways that you can contract the parasite, and that the whole cat spin is from the journalist.

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I fail to see how it's illogical or full of crap? The guy says that the parasites may affect behaviour, however it's subtle and you'd need about 50 infected and 50 uninfected to see any statistical differences.

It’s illogical precisely because it says the possible changes author suspects are there but are not yet proven are subtle (and I agree with that possibility, absolutely) but in the same article the same author is talking about typical male and female Toxo personalities, higher chance for traffic accident, loss of fashion sense, steps into completely another issue (loss of gray matter in schizophrenic brain) etc.

I also don't see how something can't be subtle and puppeteer you, puppeteering doesn't have to suddenly change everything about you, it can change small things that people are unlikely to notice, but still something out of character for you.

Yes, it doesn’t have to change you suddenly in order to change you completely over the course of years, but that is simply not the case with Toxo.

Where exactly do you see the author's "personal mental issues" in this? He quite clearly says that it's not going to turn an introvert woman into an extrovert one, rather just make them slightly less introverted. I also don't see anywhere in the article (while since I read it and not got time to go through it all now so if I've missed it please just pull me up on it :) ) where it says it makes women horny.

Don’t you play lawyer on me now. They never use word “horny” in the article, but that’s what you get when you translate this:

Compared with uninfected men, males who had the parasite were more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people’s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules. Infected women, on the other hand, presented in exactly the opposite way: they were more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women.
Compared with uninfected people of the same sex, infected men were more likely to wear rumpled old clothes; infected women tended to be more meticulously attired, many showing up for the study in expensive, designer-brand clothing. Infected men tended to have fewer friends, while infected women tended to have more. And when it came to downing the mystery fluid, reports Flegr, “the infected males were much more hesitant than uninfected men. They wanted to know why they had to do it. Would it harm them?” In contrast, the infected women were the most trusting of all subjects. “They just did what they were told,” he says.

into everyday language.

I’ve been through his mental issues extensively in my previous posts, here’s the summary: He repeatedly insists there are those subtle but not subtle at all (twice greater chance of crashing your car! God!) personality changes that are also opposite for opposite genders.

No disease and no parasite described yet are so very sexist. OK, prostate cancer maybe, simply because women don’t have prostate, but human brain is obviously not a prostate or anything similar to it. It’s far too complex and genderless (yes, whole another can of worms I sometimes poke through in other threads where bodies of “wrong” gender somehow grew around brain of the right gender.).

Just because there's a difference between a nail in the head and something more subtle does that mean we should ignore it?

Absolutely not. Toxo is really dangerous for foetus, and even if it wasn’t, neither would I like to have some parasite sailing through my internal organs. And that's it. I'm more worried with stupid people who want to buy tapeworm so they can lose weight while gorging on. Shake hands with one of them and... ewww...

What I'm saying is that it's never a good idea to waste time and resources on something relatively harmless while you are surrounded with real threats.

Now I'll admit that the article is a little sensationalist, but that doesn't mean that the study done is all rubbish that can be brushed away.

The study deserves better article and more people capable of a little saner approach to draw some useful conclusions.

But that won't sell so good.

Perhaps I'm wrong here but I assume that when people reply with "I knew cats were evil!" they're joking, I for one don't honestly think that cats are evil (although I don't trust the little blighters! ;) ;) )

My cat is evil little b****** :yes: and he could catch an infected rodent one day, thus dragging haemorrhagic fever home.

That's some panicky stuff, screw Toxo. And that's fine example why people teach their kids to wash their hands.

Yes, people are joking, but people are also easily impressionable. I bet there are morons who kicked their cat out of the house after reading the headline. The fact that touching your lips with your hands after touching money or any public doorknob, for example, is far more dangerous (infection-wise) than kissing average cat’s butt bothers them not.

Studying Toxo, yes, absolutely, bring it on, but inflating it into something it simply is not, no.

But it's all ok for people to pull out ad hominem attacks on the author's mental conditions and appearance, and suggest that he's been bullied for years and this is his attempt to impress the world?

Yes, it’s OK.

Because first, he chose to make himself public and therefore gave us permission and invitation to comment on him. If he didn’t want that, he’d let his work speak more than his lack of fashion sense, which somehow was the pivot of the article.

Moral of the story: authorize, folks, authorize or don’t talk to journalist.

If he authorized that stuff in the OP, then my assessments are correct.

Second, I’m tired of the insane fashion of accepting any kind of crap just because the author of said crap will have his feelings hurt if you inform him that you think his piece of crap is crap.

One of the reasons why this civilization is in such deep **** with tendency to drop even lower is precisely because sane criticism somehow became taboo.

If you read the entire article you'll also note this little piece towards the end

Infact, after skimming over this article again, I'd venture so far as to say that Jaroslav hardly mentions cats, he points out several ways that you can contract the parasite, and that the whole cat spin is from the journalist.

Like I said, he should have demanded to authorize the article. Or if he authorized it, then... well, I hope he thinks it was worth it. I'd go ballistic, but that's me and my principles :D

Meanwhile, in Uganda, children are dropping dead. Aged between 5 and 15, they start to have epileptic seizures, lose all strength, their heads nod, they can’t eat, can’t talk, can’t coordinate... then they die.

It’s suspected it’s yet unknown form of river blindness parasite, nesting in brain. Not confirmed or curable yet.

But it’s just kids in Uganda, it’s not the possibility someone might lose sense of fashion because of Toxoplasmosis.

It’s a sad world we live in.

Consider this ad hominem attack on this whole ****ty world at once ;)

Edited by Helen of Annoy

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In many cases of hoarding of animals or possessions, it is true that they might own cats. But you must think of the cases that don't involve cats or animals. My best friend's brother had a hoarding problem. He doesn't own cats or dogs, and he has been sent to a special hospital for mental problems related to his hoarding. It could be a coincidence that the cats a involved in a case with mental issues as a side-effect. It could be the hoarding that is causing this. Hoarding can be rough on the mental and physical state your body and mind is in. It could lead to claustrophobia or moderate to severe paranoia. As for the physical effects, those can be obvious. Insomnia, eating-disorders, and many others.

So, before you make a bold accusation, check out every variable. If you don't, your suggestion is invalid. Just a tip for the future, boys and girls:

Always check every little circumstance. One mistake could ruin the whole thing.

~~

Oh, and yes... I own a cat. :sm

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Posted (edited)

I suppose it's not as insane as it sounds. Neurocysticercosis (when pork tapeworm eggs end up in the brain), can affect functioning and cause seizures. T. gondii (toxoplasma) has been demonstrated to affect the behavior of infected mice, causing them to seek out cats and be eaten, thus perpetuating the parasite's life cycle.. One would need to look at studies determining the seroprevalence of antibodies in a population, but even then, determining causation would be difficult.

It appears to be a fairly common infection in humans, but isn't considered dangerous to humans unless they are immunocompromised or fetuses.

http://www.cdc.gov/p.../toxoplasmosis/

Edited by Cybele

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In many cases of hoarding of animals or possessions, it is true that they might own cats. But you must think of the cases that don't involve cats or animals. My best friend's brother had a hoarding problem. He doesn't own cats or dogs, and he has been sent to a special hospital for mental problems related to his hoarding. It could be a coincidence that the cats a involved in a case with mental issues as a side-effect. It could be the hoarding that is causing this. Hoarding can be rough on the mental and physical state your body and mind is in. It could lead to claustrophobia or moderate to severe paranoia. As for the physical effects, those can be obvious. Insomnia, eating-disorders, and many others.

So, before you make a bold accusation, check out every variable. If you don't, your suggestion is invalid. Just a tip for the future, boys and girls:

Always check every little circumstance. One mistake could ruin the whole thing.

~~

Oh, and yes... I own a cat. :sm

I know, right? Who would have thought that people who hoard objects might also hoard animals?

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