It’s well known that cat owners can contract toxoplasmosis by touching soiled kitty litter, then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. Even a microscopic amount of the toxoplasma gondii parasite in some cat feces can cause the flu-like symptoms of the illness.
Now, new research published by University of Chicago scientists in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has found an association between the parasite and a condition known as intermittent explosive disorder — kind of like road rage without the road. Signs of this very real psychiatric condition include repeated, sudden impulsive outbursts of aggressive or even violent behavior and verbal lashings.
Cause-and-effect hasn’t been proven; it’s just a link at this point without specific dots leading to a connection between the bug and the disorder. And not everyone who gets toxoplasmosis comes down with the rage. But why takes chances? The findings are all the more reason to wash your hands with hot soapy water immediately after changing the kitty litter and before touching any part of your face or body in general.