Suppression

Being with cats

Category: Events

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

I am sure cat lovers everywhere will nod their heads sagely and say, of course, cat lovers are naturally gifted and it is no accident that witches kept cats, they knew about their powers.  A cat lover [they will say] is gifted to be psychic.  But the truth is, I’m afraid a lot more sinister [and worrying for cat lovers].

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes the disease toxoplasmosis.  Found worldwide, T. gondii is capable of infecting virtually all warm-blooded animals.

In humans, it is one of the most common parasites; serological studies estimate up to a third of the global population has been exposed to and may be chronically infected with T. gondii, although infection rates differ significantly from country to country. Although mild, flu-like symptoms occasionally occur during the first few weeks following exposure, infection with T. gondii generally produces no symptoms in healthy human adults, in unhealthy adults and children it can cause death.  Generally, however, you will not know you have it.

Although T. gondii can infect, be transmitted by, and asexually reproduce within humans and virtually all other warm-blooded animals, the parasite can 'sexually' reproduce only within the intestines of members of the cat family (felids).   Felids are therefore defined as the definitive hosts of T. gondii, with all other hosts defined as intermediate hosts. Interestingly the cat is much less sensitive to parasite infection than are intermediate hosts.  There appears to be a theory that the parasite and cat are somehow a symbiotic combination helping [by infection and disabling of prey] with the trapping of food for the cat.  A mouse infected with the parasite is far easier to catch because it damages its brain [of which more in a  moment].

Infection in humans and other warm-blooded animals principally occurs:

  1. by ingesting food, [vegetables, meat] or water, or anything contaminated with oocysts shed in the faeces of an infected cat.  Humans consume ‘tissue cysts’ when eating raw or undercooked meat (particularly pork and lamb).
  2. through transmission from mother to fetus, particularly when T. gondii is contracted during pregnancy

So you don’t have to keep a cat to become infected.  If cats come into your garden and pee and poo in your vegetables or flowers and you then go gardening without knowing they have, you could inadvertently get excrement and contaminated soil under your finger nails and transfer it to food.  Humans can be exposed, for example, by consuming unwashed vegetables or contaminated water, or by handling the cat litter of an infected cat.

People who are rhesus positive have a certain amount of protection from the parasite because rhesus positives are a genetic adaptation designed to protect us against this onslaught.  Rhesus negatives have no protection – see Being rhesus negative.

Now for the unpleasant bit.  Inside host cells, the parasites replicate inside specialised nests [called vacuoles] created during parasitic entry into the body and cells. Baby parasites multiply inside this vacuole until the host cell dies and ruptures, releasing and spreading the baby parasites via the blood stream to all organs and tissues of the body, including the brain.

Following this initial period of infection characterized by parasite proliferation throughout the body, your immune system will try to kick in to save you from this onslaught.  At this point “pressure from the host's immune system causes T. gondii tachyzoites to convert into bradyzoites, the semidormant, slowly dividing cellular stage of the parasite”.

Inside host cells, clusters of these bradyzoites are known as tissue cysts.

Tissue cysts predominantly form and persist in the brain, the eyes, and striated muscle (including the heart). I have found various papers on PubMed that link this parasite with

all these can result in spiritual experiences.   So to put it simply for all those cat lovers, your cat may be destroying your brain, your sight and your heart. 

Prevention

The following helpful list comes from the Mayo clinic

  1. Peel or wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
  2. Freeze meat for several days at below freezing point temperatures (0°F or -18°C) before cooking. Tissue cysts rarely survive freezing at these temperatures.
  3. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, and never taste meat before fully cooked.  Cook all meat thoroughly at high temperatures.
  4. Use hot, soapy water to wash hands or anything in the kitchen that contacts raw meat, poultry, seafood or unwashed fruits and vegetables.
  5. Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk.
  6. Wear gloves when gardening or when in contact with soil or sand.
  7. Avoid drinking untreated water.
  8. Change and dispose of cat litter daily using gloves, dispose of the gloves, wash hands thoroughly.
  9. Strangle all cats that do not belong to you and enter your garden to poo [no sorry I’m joking ….. or maybe I’m not]

How it works

Principally brain damage, but there may also be a contribution from heart failure and coronary heart disease.

For more information about the functions of the Brain see the Brain and its functions

For information about How spiritual experience works, see How to get a spiritual experience and the Model of spiritual experience

 

 

 

References and further reading

Videos

A TED talk to make you think Ed Yong: Zombie roaches and other parasite tales

Related observations