LONDON -- A new study published in the Medical Journal Psychological Medicine has good news for cat lovers-- there's no link between the development of psychotic symptoms and the presence of cats in the home!
Some previous studies suggested that cats in the home could be linked to Schizophrenia or Toxoplasmosis, thanks to the parasite Toxoplasma Gondii. It infects many warm-blooded animals, including humans, but house cats are known to be the primary hosts.
Most people's immune systems can fight off any ill-effects from the parasite, but it can cause health problems for pregnant women and those with a compromised immune system.
The recent study out of the United Kingdom followed 5,000 people from birth through the age of 18. They tracked the presence of cats in the household -- including during pregnancy.
They also evaluated kids for psychotic-like symptoms at the ages of 13 and 18.
Researchers concluded that cat ownership in pregnancy and childhood did not play a role in developing psychotic symptoms during adolescence. Previous studies that did find a link simply failed to adequately control for other possibly explanations.
However, they do continue to recommend that pregnant women handle cat litter with caution.