Can Cats Cause Road Rage?

Category: Can Cats Cause Road Rage?, Cat Research, Cats And Human Health
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Study shows cats cause road rage … maybe.


How could sweet, cuddly cats cause road rage?

Is it possible that our sweet, cuddly cats cause road rage?

And now, from the What Will They Blame On Cats Next department, comes this news: Cats cause road rage. I can think of a couple of reasons why cats would infuriate their people. Not using the litter box comes to mind. But the scientists who came up with the road rage theory would say it’s using the litter box, not failing to use it, that could cause sudden angry outbursts and road rage.

Blame It On Toxoplasmosis

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers from the University of Chicago looked at 358 people and found that those who had been exposed to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii showed impulsive anger twice as much as those who hadn’t been exposed.

The researchers, led by University of Chicago professor Emil F. Coccaro, MD, were hoping to pioneer in the diagnosis and management of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which can show itself as road rage and is believed to affect about 16 million people in the United States.

“Our work suggests that latent infection with the toxoplasma gondii parasite may change brain chemistry in a fashion that increases the risk of aggressive behavior,” Coccaro said in a statement about the study. “However, we do not know if this relationship is causal, and not everyone that tests positive for toxoplasmosis will have aggression issues.”

The Truth About How Cats Cause Road Rage

The most common causes of toxoplasmosis in people are handling raw meat or eating undercooked meat, especially venison, lamb and pork. Drinking contaminated water can also cause toxoplasmosis, and so can just digging in the soil of a flowerbed. 


Cats can ingest the toxoplasma gondii parasite by eating infected rodents. They then shed the oocysts (eggs) in their feces. An infected cat will shed the eggs for just two weeks or less. And according to the International Cat Care website, it’s rare for cats to shed more oocysts after their first infection.

But it’s also “rare to find cats shedding oocysts in their feces” at all, the website continues. “For example, one study of more than 206 cats showed nearly 25 percent had been infected with T gondii, but none of them were shedding oocysts in their feces.”

Prevention Is Just A Scoop Away

You scoop your cat’s box every day, don’t you? If you do, that makes your chances of getting toxoplasmosis from your cat slim to none. That’s because it takes 24 hours for the oocysts to become infectious.  If you’re really concerned, wear gloves when you scoop. 


And if you’re prone to road rage, don’t blame your cat. More likely, it’s that long commute and rude drivers that are infuriating you, with good reason. 

Speak Out For Cats

Coccaro’s study got lots of attention online. And all the headlines just had to say something about cats causing road rage. Since I live with cats, drive a lot and have had a few moments of road rage myself, they certainly got my attention.

But reporting like this is damaging to cats. It just fuels the myths that make people dislike and mistrust them. So I commented on every article, and I hope you’ll do the same if you come across one.

We need to speak out on behalf of our feline friends and family members to keep cruel myths from becoming what people mistakenly believe are facts.


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