A new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reveals that women who own cats are at a higher risk of suffering from mental problems and may commit suicide as they were more prone to getting infected from a parasite commonly found among cats.
The study was conducted by researchers at University of Maryland School of Medicine in the United States who observed more than 45,000 women in Denmark.
The researchers found that those women who were infected with Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) parasite, commonly found in cat feces and eating undercooked meat or vegetables, had a higher risk of attempting suicide or suffer from mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
"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", lead researcher Dr Teodor Postolache said.