'Cat Lady' Suicide More Likely, Could be Caused by Cat Toxin
A new study suggests that there may be a physiological connection between cat hoarding and loneliness, depression and suicide rather than just the cat hoarding itself.
Becoming a cat lady increases the risk of suicide according to a report from The Telegraph. The risk is one-and-a-half times that of non cat owners. While you may be inclined to believe it is because women like this who surround themselves with so many pets do not have many real-life connections, that is not the case.
The study comes out of Denmark, whose researchers found that women who are infected with a certain type of parasite found in cat poop are one and a half times more likely to commit suicide. The bacteria is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), and not only does being around it make you more likely to commit suicide, but you are more likely to do so through more violent means.
Senior author of the cat lady suicide study, Teodor T. Postolache, MD, is a professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Postolache explains that while the link is not definitive, it is compelling:
“We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies. We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.”
One third of the world is currently infected with the parasite studied in the cat lady suicide research.