I've been putting off publishing this because I didn't want to be accused of anti-cat propaganda, but these studies continue to crop up. Anyone with young children should be aware if they haven't heard. Also I love Grumpy cat memes.
I have a cat, I grew up with cats so don't send me hate mail. Forward it to Johns Hopkins.
For over 30 years researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been studying a link between cats and mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Or more specifically between cat feces and mental illness.
“The researchers, led by Robert H. Yolken, M.D., of the Stanley Laboratory of Developmental Neurovirology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, compared an unpublished survey on mental illness from 1982 and two later studies, which found an association between long-term childhood exposure to cats and the development of serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.” Source
Exposure to cat feces, which can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, is relatively harmless to most people but can be devastating to those with compromised immune systems. These people also have a higher risk for blindness, miscarriages in pregnant women, birth defects and early death.
According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 60 million people in the United States may be infected with Toxoplasma gondii and not show any symptoms.
Studies have shown Toxoplasma gondii changes the way the brain operates, raising the risk for mental illness in adults. Mice infected with the protozoan permanently lose their inborn fear of cats.
Does this mean children should never have a kitten? No. The safe solution is to clean the litter box daily and to keep the cat inside.