Not so long ago we were introduced to a wonderful story on the Daily Mail about cats being blamed for severe PMS and PMDD. As you would expect there were no punches pulled, in true Daily Mail style. It was up to the unsuspecting reader to try and decipher whether this dramatic headline meant the end of the road for Tiddles.
We covered this story, looking at the information that was provided to see if it really was true. It turned out that an organism known as Toxoplasma Gondii, which can be found in cats and cat droppings, was found in blood samples of 10 women out of 151 that suffered from PMDD or severe PMS (the study was carried out at Juarez University, Mexico). The researchers themselves admitted the sample used was very small so it seemed to be a story made from nothing, no surprise there.
Another interesting fact was that Toxoplasma Gondii was reported to also have been found in raw meat. So, of course if it is found in cat droppings and kitty litter and that is regularly handled, you aren’t doing yourself any favours. Equally, however, we would say you are much more likely to be handling raw meat, at least we’d hope so.
Fast forward a few months and our friend Toxoplasma Gondii is making another appearance. This time in the Sun.
Researchers at Indiana University have confirmed a link between Toxoplasma Gondii and cysts forming in the prostate gland. The article goes on to say that it is reported a third of the UK population are known to carry this organism. Now, we’re clearly cat fans, we’re “Kitty Mad” … but for a paragraph or so more we’re going to pretend we aren’t and just look at the information provided in both of these articles that are, at least in their headlines, singling out cats as the main cause of a severe form of PMS and prostate cancer.
Toxoplasma Gondii is found in a third of the UK population, which as of 2015 according to the ONS is 65.1 million. So one third of that is roughly 21.5 million people. Cat ownership in the UK as of 2016 (according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association) is 7.5 million. Both the Daily Mail and Sun articles point out the other Toxoplasma Gondii “transferers” (although not in their size 500 headline) as being:
- Drinking contaminated water
- Handling raw meat
- Eating unwashed vegetables
Is it no wonder that there is a genuine distrust and distaste of cats? People see them as vermin, disease spreaders and articles like these are simply playing to the fears of the converted. The Sun, The Daily Mail clearly take this approach with a lot of subjects, from terrorism and immigration through to kitty litter and PMS. For anyone reading this, make sure you fact check stories like these, do some digging, inform yourself and only then make your judgements. For those continually handling soiled kitty litter … STOP IT!