Researchers at the University of Indiana have discovered that a parasite many cats carry could be linked to the development of prostate cancer.
The study has found that this parasite Toxoplasma gondii can cause inflammation and the formation of cysts in the prostate. Chronic inflammation is known to double the risk of developing prostate cancer, and while potential causes of inflammation are caused from bacteria or viral infection, it is now known that Toxoplasma gondii is also responsible.
While this parasite can be passed to humans who drink contaminated water or eat unwashed vegetables, it can also be caused be handling cat litter. This is because cats shed the parasite in their feces.
Aside from infants and those with weakened immune systems, most people show no sign of infection when exposed to the parasite.
While this information is startling, the researchers stress that owners should not get rid of their cats in light of the findings - instead, they should just use some common sense in handling cat feces.
What do you think of these new findings? Will it change the way you interact with your cat's litter box? Let us know in the comments!
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