Could Toxoplasmosis Cause Cat Hoarding?

Dear Anonymous and all. Ever since reading a few years ago that rodents infected with toxoplasmosis lose their fear of cats (very bad for a mouse; very good for a cat and a toxoplasmosmis parasite living inside the cat), I began to wonder if there might be a connection between the parasite and cat hoarding.

Might infection in a human cause some sort of affinity for cats beyond what we would consider normal cat fancying?

I think someone should study this. Meanwhile it is good to see that others besides me are wondering about a possible connection.

See cat hoarding on this site


Hi Mary… thanks for posing the question. I have heard of this but never seen anything solid that supports the theory.

People who hoard cats are sometimes mentally ill, it is said. Toxoplasmosis can caue psychosis (a type of severe mental illness) and affect thinking.

So there would seem to be a potential for it to cause cat hoarding. But as I said I have not, as yet, seen anyone link up the two definitively.


Could Toxoplasmosis Cause Cat Hoarding?

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Could Toxoplasmosis Cause Cat Hoarding?

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Apr 26, 2010Hi Mary
by: Ruth

Hi Mary, lovely to ‘meet’ you.
You will never be a cat hoarder as you are very aware it can happen and you sound to me as if you care very much about cats and their welfare.Seven cats is quite a few but not really an un-manageable number. I think you are like our friend/neighbour who came here to live with twelve cats but now has fifteen, due to her kind heart.Yes she struggles a bit but as we (my widowed sister and I live together) only have two ourselves we help her out with food and the care of them. Her cats are very laid back and well cared for and they have access to an outdoor run we made for them so the house isn’t over crowded. We would have taken more in ourselves but one of our boyz has anxiety problems from a bad start and since we lost our two beautiful girlz and got him (and ourselves and our other cat)through that bad time, we don’t want to risk upsetting him again as he doesn’t like other cats.
People like our neighbour, and you Mary, are the salt of the earth.
Now I see what you mean about it being the hoarders who neglect their animals being the ones infected with Toxoplasmosis and you could just be right there !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

Apr 25, 2010Yes, they are good-hearted
by: Anonymous

Ruth, I agree with you to a certain extent. In fact, I fit the profile of the potential hoarder. I am “older” (though not yet elderly), live alone, and have managed to collect seven cats, six more than I ever intended to have. And you are exactly right: once people know you are a soft touch they come to you with hardship cases and you end up taking in another cat.

The “infected” hoarder I had in mind was the one who ends up with dead and dying cats in their hoard. Although, I have to admit, they often have other animals, too. We had a house locally that was cleaned out by animal control that also had a few dogs, ferrets, and a parakeet! I can only guess that this was one stressed-out bird. 🙂


Apr 25, 2010Cat hoarders
by: Ruth

I haven’t seen anything concrete either to link toxoplasmosis to cat hoarding but I have known a few cat hoarders over the years and they are usually people with a heart of gold.
I think with most cat hoarders the number of cats creeps up gradually because people around them know they are a soft touch for cats and won’t turn a needy cat away.
So they have room for ‘just one more’ and then another comes along and they think ‘just one more’ and so on, until suddenly they are swamped with cats.
One house I used to visit at one time along with a vet I worked for, had cats on every available suface, every piece of furniture was covered in cats, all the rooms full of cats.
That lady’s whole life was lived around her cats and yes she loved them and took good care of them but she had very little for herself.
Another thing in common with cat hoarders is that they usually live alone and are very lonely people who have been hurt by life.
Cats are their comfort.
I’d love to be surrounded by many cats but my head rules my heart as I tell myself it wouldn’t be fair on the cats, or on myself.
Maybe there is an illness in some people that stops them from being sensible about the number of cats they can cope with, but I don’t think any cat hoarder would admit to having a problem and willingly be examined and studied.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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