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Crazy Cat Love: Caused By Parasitic Infection?

3487 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  peace
As a cat lady and biologist, I found this amusing.

You like cats because they're beautiful, elegant creatures, right? Or is it because you've been infected by a parasite that influences your brain?
Bizarrely, new research raises that question, finding that the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which lives in cats, actually makes cats attractive rather than scary to their natural prey (in this case, rats). Earlier research also suggests that this parasite, which can infect humans, may affect personality and possibly even the risk of schizophrenia.

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pssst guys, its a joke-type thing.
Originally Posted by Envy View Post

noooo, I can't live on this planet anymore if I don't know if my preference for cats is honest and pure!!1!1
Maybe we should send all the cats on this planet to the moon and let them colonize it so everyone is safe.

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Originally Posted by Tom View Post

"That's one butt-wiggle for a cat... and one giant pounce for catkind..."

Actually, I read this some time ago. The toxoplasma parasite must complete its life cycle in a cat, but the early part of its life cycle is spent in a rodent. The parasite does that to the rodents it infects to increase the odds it will find its next host (a cat)... or more accurately, that its next host will find it.

I suppose the rabies virus does sort of the same thing, infecting an animal and causing him/her to get violently aggressive, biting other creatures.
A parasite wants to live, hence moving to different hosts to complete its life cycle and produce offspring. The rabies virus is a seek and destroy kind of deal, if an animal (cat, bat, cow, human) is infected, fatality is 100% guaranteed.

Did you read Parasite Rex by Zimmer? (it was mentioned in the article) Its a very good book if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Originally Posted by Ira View Post

i hope to get more of those parasites. can't love the kitties enough
that's the spirit!
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RadioLab does everything awesome.
Originally Posted by Teresa View Post

That astronaut kitty pic is way too cute!
You would be surprised to see how many hits came up when I googled "Cat in space suit".
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