A couple of weeks ago, I found myself at that Greatland we call Target buying pop and paper towels, and happened across this:
It’s a “Hello Kitty” sweatshirt. For kitties. It’s a kitty-themed shirt for your kitty to wear. Sweet mother of Garfield. And of course, I really wanted to buy it for my dead cat. As you do.
My precious curmudgeonly orange tabby, Sesame, crossed over (and likely burned and then pissed on) the Rainbow Bridge last August, but I still think about him every day. What is this hold he has on me? Even now? Why do I still have two cats and consistently yearn for a new one?
Crazy Cat Lady Disease. It’s a thing.
Science-y people call it Toxo Plasma Gondii (not Gandhi). I call it the most likely reason I have a feline face tattooed on my right shoulder. And possibly why Sesame’s charred toaster leavings are still sitting in a box in my office and not buried next to Harry the Hampster by the shed, where they belong.
After extensive Internet research that involved several five-dollar words and a few worth at least ten dollars, I’m pretty sure I have it. Jim has it too. (Fact: Any disease researched on the wubs will slowly become a disease you are convinced that you have. And your spouse.)
Here’s why I believe I have Toxo Plasma Blah Blah, aka T. Gondii (Let’s call it that from here on out because it sounds like a rapper instead of a disgusting bug that lives in cat colons.):
1) Because cats are its favorite hosts. It can only make baby T. Gondiis inside cat bowels, and therefore … poo. In more than thirty years of cat-tending, I’ve handled what is I’m sure an insane amount of cat product. Get it?? Insane. See, because …
2) Because T. Gondii messes with your head. Research suggests that the parasite causes rats to feel attracted to cats, despite the fact that cats wish to eat them. This may also apply to larger, less intelligent mammals. Such as … Jim. And totally … me.
3) Sesame always seemed like he wanted to eat me. (And kill Jim.)
4) I would have let him. (The eat me part. I would have missed Jim. I really think I’m getting the hang of this science stuff, by the way.)
5) I have lived with cats for more than thirty years; my brain has felt messed-with the entire time.
But hey, don’t believe me. Take it from this really stable-looking scientist who claims that T. Gondii IS ALIVE IN HIM and causing him to make reckless decisions (other than the hair).
Jaroslav Flegr believes that a) he has T. Gondii, b) lots of people have it and don’t know it and, c) the same parasite that can make a rat forget not to get eaten can cause humans to act in self-destructive ways.
OMG, If you’ve read either of my books, you will know why I SO VERY HAVE THIS.
“Indeed, recent findings … suggest that the parasite is capable of extraordinary shenanigans.”
Flegr’s research also suggests that T. Gondii causes men to be more reclusive, while women become more social. Now, when I drag Jim kicking and screaming to gatherings, I will happily announce, “He’s not anti-social, friends. He just has crazy cat lady disease.” He will super LOVE that.
So, parasitic mind control. It’s a thing.
And right meow, it’s making me want to drive really recklessly back to Target and buy that Hello Kitty sweatshirt for one of my living cats. Heck. Both of them. Maybe one for the dog, too. I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS.
In closing, here are several pics of my cat Squeak trying very hard not to model my swell new cat pendant, which I ordered just a couple of weeks before learning of my crippling mental disability. Have a T. Gondii day!
(Only a person in my condition would take so much time to terrorize her cat in this way, then spend like twenty minutes uploading and selecting photos for such an array. Maybe Squeak should have thought of this before she made me a crazy cat lady.)