"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

In populated cities, wild cats usually tend to be infected with parasites

June 23, 2023 – Reducing the population of feral cats, especially in cities, could reduce the danger of contracting toxoplasmosis, a disease brought on by a dangerous parasite transmitted by cats.

Researchers on the University of California in Davis found that cats excrete more parasites, Toxoplasma gondii, in the event that they live in areas with higher population density, akin to cities.

Much of the research thus far has focused on the risks of toxoplasmosis in cats kept as pets. Pregnant women are sometimes advised not to wash cat litter boxes since the parasite, which lives in cat feces, will be transmitted from mother to unborn child.

This latest study focused on wild cats and appeared this week within the journal Plus one. Researchers analyzed data from 47 previously published studies and located that 2.7% of stool samples were positive for the parasite.

The authors of the study suspect that the link between parasite levels and population density – that's, more people living together in a small space – may very well be attributable to “the release of unwanted pets, more outdoor cats, stray cats and the provision of food for feral cat colonies”.

According to the USDAThere are 164 million cats within the United States, of which 30 to 80 million are feral.

The Cleveland Clinic According to toxoplasmosis, most individuals don't experience any symptoms. However, the disease is very dangerous for individuals with weakened immune systems as it might result in organ damage and possibly death.