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Feline Roundup

November 18, 2005

Cats can have asthma and allergies, too–and you might be helping to trigger your cat’s condition.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Do you make your cat sick? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Cats are blamed for causing allergies in people, but it can cut both ways—people may also cause allergies in cats. About one in 200 cats suffer from asthma, and their conditions can be worsened by living in houses with cigarette smoke, dust, human dandruff, and even some types of cat litter. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh hope to find new ways to improve treatments.

In other cat news, a scientist at the University of Illinois is urging people to keep their cats indoors. Outdoor cats are more likely to pick up a pathogen called toxoplasma and transmit it to other animals and to their human owners. While no connection has been proven, toxoplasma infection has been linked to schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.