Saying “crazy cat lady” may soon get you cancelled.
For years, scientists have wondered whether owning a cat might increases one’s odds of developing schizophrenia – which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally,” adding that it may “result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.”
According to a recent analysis of a whole bunch of previously conducted studies, there’s a clear link between cat-ownership and this debilitating mental disorder.
“We found that individuals exposed to cats had approximately twice the odds of developing schizophrenia,” wrote the research team from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research in their analysis published in the Journal of Psychoses and Related Disorders.
The team behind the review looked at seventeen studies conducted between 1980 and 2023 in eleven different countries, all asking this same question.
Studies more specifically point out that being around felines during childhood will increase a person’s risk.
“Cat-transmitted infections, especially Toxoplasma gondii, are possible risk factors for the later development of schizophrenia,” states a peer-reviewed study published by cureus.com.
“Some also link cat exposure to higher scores on scales that measure traits related to schizophrenia – which affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – and psychotic-like experiences, but again, other studies don’t show this connection,” according to Science Alert.