Studies have linked an infection that you can get from your cat’s litterbox with higher suicide rates in women.
Women infected with a parasite found in dirty kitty litter, undercooked meat, and unwashed vegetables may be at higher risk for self-injury and suicide, a new study shows.
The study, published in the journal General Psychiatry, reports that women infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii were more likely to attempt suicide than women who were not infected.
T. gondii infection is most commonly caused by eating undercooked meat but can also be transmitted from handling infected cat feces, eating unwashed produce, and handling contaminated soil.
About one-third of the world’s population is infected with T. gondii, but in most cases people never know it because the infection typically does not cause serious illness.
Newly infected pregnant women can transmit the parasite to their fetuses, which can lead to brain damage, blindness, or severe mental retardation. And people with compromised immune systems are also at risk.
That is why pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are often advised not to change cat litter boxes.