Your average, mind controlling parasite

A parasite that takes over your brain, controls your actions, changes the way you interact with the world… The goa’uld  from Stargate right?  Nope. Look no further than your cat.

I will state, here and now, that I’m not a liker of cats. I can now be very happy about that.

Cats have a parasite in their faeces. Pregnant women are warned away from cats as this parasite–Toxoplasma gondii, or Toxo for short–can harm a foetus and can give healthy children and adults flu-like systems. You get over the symptoms and that’s it. But it isn’t. And this is the mind controlling part.

Toxo lies dormant in your brain, building up cysts and swamping you with dopamine. It reduces the fear factor, makes men more suspicious and women more out-going and caring. One third of humans are infected with Toxo…but we’re not the intended targets. Rats are.

Experiments have shown that rats with Toxo like cat urine and their fear of dark places where predators could lurk, is reduced. One researcher has called it ‘fatal feline attraction’. And it’s all down to the parasite. Toxo has to get back into a cat to reproduce and so it will alter the mind of its host to get what it wants. Other parasites are in the mind controlling frame too. Rabies drives the aggressive need to bite another victim, to continue its life cycle. Even the flu virus could make us more sociable as the contagion needs to spread before the symptoms become apparent. It really seems like the stuff of science fiction. Hence the blog. 🙂

I admit, this whole thing makes my jaw drop. And it also makes you wonder if your mind is actually your own…

Bring on the plot bunnies!

—–

Kim Knox  brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.

SYNTHETIC DREAMS and BITTER HARVEST are both coming soon from Carina Press.

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10 comments

  1. That just blew my mind. Wow!! Now I’ll never have a cat again. LOL

    1. Same here! But then I was already prejudiced, lol Maybe I have small-rodent inspired mind-control that keeps me away from them…?

      Yes, I’m looking at you, Oscar the Hamster.

  2. LOLOL! I LOVED this post. I had no idea the extent of the toxo. It explains a lot. In Turkey where cats were allowed to go everywhere, men are expected to become suspicious and paranoid if they make it to the age of 50 or so. Meanwhile the women become more accepting of that behavior as they age. I’d asked a lot of questions when I was there, but everyone pretty much said the same thing.

    1. wow, that’s incredible.

  3. My mind…it’s boggled. This runs in a similar vein to the villains in a series of mine. Every time I see “parasite” I start making notes. LOL

    And now I must go tell my dog he was right about cats…

    1. Nice to have parasitic villains!

  4. That’s mind boggling. Do you have any citations for the science you mention? The study in particular? I’d like to read more.

    1. Oops, I forgot to put the link in 🙂
      I got my info from the March edition of ‘The Atlantic’
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/8873/

  5. Well, I always knew I’d end up as a crazy cat lady… now there’s just scientific justification!

    1. Saying nothing… hehe

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