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Some Cat Lovers Skeptical Of Study On Mental-Illness Link

If you’re a cat lover, a recent headline that hit the news probably had you feeling pretty smug: “Cat Ownership Not Linked to Mental Health Problems, Study Says.”

It seemed to have proven wrong a long-held belief that owning cats can lead to various kinds of mental illnesses.

For years, pregnant women have been told to be careful around cats and to not pick up the cat litter because cats can carry a parasite called “toxoplasma gondii,” or T. gondii. If a person picks up the parasite, it can lead to serious health and mental problems, like schizophrenia.

But a recent study published by the University College London says cat ownership is not linked to mental illness like schizophrenia. I spoke with Dr. Francesca Solmi who was a lead researcher on the study who explained what they found.

But while it certainly made some cat lovers happy, not everyone has been so convinced by this recent research. I also spoke with one of the researchers who has been critical of these findings and how they’ve been reported on in the media.

Fuller Torrey is a researcher at the Stanley Medical Research Institute who has done a lot of work surrounding cats and toxoplasmosis.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.