My cat really is trying to kill me- and you

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Instead of only attributing some bad actions exclusively to being an American male of a certain age, I can say that my cat did it? Who can argue with science?

When Punkn came to the front door virtually eight years ago, he was howling. He was a kitten going on a teenager, and he was suffocating, starving and dehydrated. It seemed he had either run away from or been ditched by his former owneds, who had strapped a black leather spiked collar tightly around his kitten neck. It must have been a month before he presented up at my place, or even longer, because the collar was now choking him.

I ran inside for scissors, ran back to the front steps where he was writhe, and in one quick move operated the scissors under the collar. The leather circle popped off, a band of skin rubbed hairless underneath.

He breathed, stumbled to his feet and immediately scratched on my pants leg, purring. And he never left.

Punkns influence on my life is possibly why I became so interested in a book published just before the new year: Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We Catch Mental Illness, by Harriet A Washington. This was the paragraph that caught my attention 😛 TAGEND

Torrey also noticed reports that schizophrenia rates rose in the United States the same year cat ownership became popular, a fact that has led researchers to look into Toxoplasma gondii , a parasite that cats transmit to humans. Its not harmful to everyone though it appears to induce the individuals who harbor it more sexually aggressive.

You mean that wild, altogether unwarranted attraction to the roller-derby barmaid that I briefly endured in 2009 was Punkns fault? OMG, yes!

Maybe Ted Nugent was right, way back in 1977. Remember Cat Scratch Fever? You should. Like most tunes of the epoch, it was about sexual attraction. VH1 named it the 32 nd best hard rock tune of all time. And now its scientifically proven, though not the same as that mentioned above.

Teds reference is to yet a different cat-borne, though coincidentally parallel, malady 😛 TAGEND

Bartonellosis is an infectious bacterial cancer, caused by the gram-negative bacteria Bartonella henselae . It is also commonly known as cat scratch illnes( CSD ), or cat scratch fever.

This is a zoonotic cancer, meaning that it can be transmitted between animals and humen. It has been estimated that in the US alone over 25,000 cases of cat scratch illnes necessitate brief hospitalization each year.

But the Big Guy of kitty fever is this Toxoplasma mentioned in Washingtons tome . Even the Mayo Clinic cautioned lately: … the parasite kinds cysts that can affect almost any part of the body often your brain and muscles, including the heart.

Supposedly the infections occur when humans come in direct contact with cat turd, ie changing the litter box.

I procured a treasure trove, an article from Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology, from 2006 that induces even bigger premises: that cat parasite affects human culture. An article referring to the study says:

A parasitic microbe commonly found in cats might have helped shape entire human cultures by manipulating the personalities of infected individuals, according to a new study.

Infection by a Toxoplasma gondii could attain some individuals more prone to some forms of neuroticism and could lead to differences among cultures if enough people are infected, says Kevin Lafferty, a US Geological Survey scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In a survey of different countries, Lafferty found that people living in those with higher rates of T gondii infection scored higher on average for neuroticism, defined as an emotional or mental disorder been characterised by high levels of nervousnes, insecurity or depression.

Whoa, this does it, Punkn! I am blaming everything on you. I am calling Obama this afternoon. We have found a new scapegoat.

It continues 😛 TAGEND

… One recent analyse showed that the parasite stimulates usually cautious rats outgoing and more prone to engage in reckless behaviour, such as hanging around areas often marked by cat urine, building the rats easy targets.

Scientists estimate that the parasite has infected about 3 billion people, or about half of the human population. Analyses by researchers in the Czech Republic have suggested T. gondii might have subtle but long-term consequences on its human hosts. The parasite is thought to have different, and often opposite consequences in humen versus women, but both genders appear to develop a form of neuroticism called guilt proneness.

Oh no. Guilt too?

… In light of such studies, Lafferty wondered whether high rates of T gondii infection in a culture could shift the average personality of its individuals.

In populations where this parasite is very common, mass personality adjustment could result in culture change, Lafferty said.

The distribution of T gondii could explain differences in culture aspects that relate to ego, money, material possessions, run and rules, Lafferty added.

Get outta here! Now I am wearing gloves and a mask to change the litter!

These scientists are saying I am get sexually aggressive, groveling for more money and material possessions, and all the while feeling ever more guilty about those fails. And that now, instead of merely attributing such actions solely to being an American male of a certain age, I can say that my cat did it?

That Punkn is responsible?

Yes, yes indeed: I really loooovvvve my kitty.

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