Stop the Media’s Cat Bashing!

Trust me, I am even madder than I look!

I am hissing mad over a couple of stories I saw recently that needlessly go out of their way to paint cats in the most negative light possible. It is practically a smear campaign, and proof of how easily the media can slant a story to look one way when it is actually the opposite. These “news” articles are trying to claim that we kitties are making humans sick through our feces — when the reality is, the only poisonous crap being spread around are the stories themselves.

This story from NBC News is entitled, “Cat poop parasites may pose public health hazard, study suggests” and it goes on about the tons of feces produced by cats every year, and how some new study looks at the health hazards involved. They make a big deal about the widespread prevalence of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, and about how this parasite can cause any number of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia. Then, after all this scary, sensationalized information, about halfway through the article, it is pointed out, “the prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in U.S.-born people ages 12 to 49 dropped from about 14.1 percent to 9 percent between 1999 and 2004.” Even the author of the study, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, admits, “This is not considered a big problem,” and the story goes on to say, “responsible cat owners are likely at lower risk than others.” Even later on, the article’s writer confesses, “the links between the infection and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are tenuous.”

So basically, this is a story that reports on a meaningless study, and then goes out of its way to make us cats look bad.

As if this was not sickening enough, NPR — which is supposed to be less biased and more responsible about its reporting than most other news sources — published a very similar story! The writer spends a good portion of her article on Torrey’s study using the same scare tactics, and then in the next to last paragraph mentions, “Torrey also says that while there has been a drastic increase in the number of feral cats, there has been a decrease in the number of recorded cases of T. gondii infection.” So we cats have been needlessly bashed again!

Hello, this is a non-story! On top of that, even though there are more cats, there are fewer humans being infected by T. gondii! Maybe these journalists should be congratulating us cats instead of creating stories that by their very implication condemn us.

As far as I am concerned, if even one cat is harmed or dumped at a shelter because of either of these stories, the writers have blood on their hands.

You human cat supporters out there have your work cut out ahead of you. It is up to you to calmly and intelligently promote the truth about how awesome we cats are, and how healing we are as your companions. It is time to put a stop to these stories that damage our reputation and, possibly, our wellbeing. You in?

Blog the Change
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Having problems with your human or the other cats in your house? As the internet’s “Dear Abby With Claws,” Sparkle had answers to many annoying problems in her two award-winning books! Visit her author’s page on Amazon to buy one or both of her awesome Dear Sparkle books!

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  1. says

    Must be a really slow news day when people pick on cats!
    Imagine,saying all those nasty things then saying it is not serious!
    We need to poop on their pillows 😉
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Treasure,Tiger,JJ and Julie

  2. says

    We can’t believe they dug this back up out of the litterbox. The media tried this same smear campaign before, and the responsible media eventually caught on and talked about how toxiplasmosis is transmitted almost entirely by meat. They need to remember that they need a less-sensational story and to get back to facts.

  3. says

    The woman here says that news report is complete nonsense. Of course cat poop can carry toxoplasmosis, but the risk is very very tiny. You would have to EAT a lot of cat poop or handle cat poop without washing your hands for there to be any large risk. The Toxoplasmosis parasite is naturally occurring in soil, so eating unwashed vegetables, gardening and not washing your hands or eating under cooked meats all pose a risk.

    The woman spent years working with sheep, another animal that carries the Toxoplasmosis parasite. She always made sure wash her hands after handling the sheep. She even petted a few at a children’s farm when she was expecting the baby. But because she is not a blithering idiot and knew to wash her hands after handling animals, cleaning up animal poop and digging in the garden, she has never contracted Toxoplasmosis, despite being exposed to the risk for years. People need to use common sense and not believe everything the see or hear in the media.

    We do hope that people are not silly enough to now leave their cats at a shelter because of a tiny risk that something may happen if they not careful. Sadly, people can be very silly indeed.

  4. says

    We went through this “feces” a year ago, last summer we did a post about it. Wha? There wasn’t a story on how Gigantic Mutant Godzilla-like Tabbies are eating small children and turning dogs into zombies???? The real science shows that the vast majority of t gondii infections occur via the meat people handle incorrectly and eat. Sheesh!

    hmmm…. maybe there’s not a news story there, but zombies are big… maybe a cable TV pilot ?

  5. says

    Yes, my human and I saw those stories too and we were irate! And yes, we are in and are doing and will continue to do what we can to put a rest to these silly accusations. Re: the media, this is just another distraction to avoid reporting on the real issues that people need to be informed about. Meow and Namaste! ~ Pippy the Feline Yogini

  6. says

    Oh, I’m in! The person who wrote about this previously listed FOXNews as the first link and I NEVER believe anything THEY say so I figured it was just made up. Now the NPR has jumped onboard, I’m taking it seriously. If you haven’t already, she should add this to the BTC4A Blog Hop. This is important.

  7. says

    have these people never heard of soap and water?? sheesh….. We will never understand why there isn’t enough news in the world that they feel the need to report such nonsense

  8. says

    Well I have to agree with Brian, it is all just plain stupid and some idiot just decided to pick on cats probably because the cats are so popular and that is one way for revenge. Good post Sparkle.

  9. says

    Yes indeed, Sparkle. The Mom&DadKatt here were very upset about these articles. And especially surprised about NPR. They obviously didn’t do thorough research on this and now they SHOULD, and the result should be a revised story rebroadcast.


    Angry purrz,

  10. says

    The media has been super irresponsible, as of late. Reportin’ stuff without researchin’ all the facts, FIRST. I sometimes wonder if they even READ the dribble they tell before openin’ their mouths.


  11. Wildcat says

    Why does the media always show negative incorrect junk about cats and not the positive things? Makes me sick! Yes I’m in to always stand up for cats! Thank you Sparkle for all you do to help :) If we all speak up and stay strong for the kitties, we can show how negative and full of lies those cat haters are. Cat Power!

  12. Wildcat says

    Ps. If you follow Vox Felina, the anti cat junk is analyzed and proven to be false. I love Vox Felina :)

  13. says

    The publicist does not have nice things to say about the media. She thinks they are out to sell ads not to inform like they used to be. Shock and awe that is all they care about. Be the first to report something even if it is false.
    Don’t start her

  14. says

    Toxo WAS a big issue…in the 70s when no one kept their cats inside and let them run around outside and catch mice and birds. Do you know how many cats never touch real dirt in their entire lives? If a cat is 100% indoors, he or she has almost no chance of even getting exposed to Toxo, let alone getting it in their poop to spread around! I got asked about this at Jake’s therapy visit last week.

    You know what’s a bigger problem? People flushing prescription meds down the toilet! And guess what? THERE, cat poop is a good thing! They say to throw the meds away with litter box scoopings so people won’t be tempted to take them out of the trash and use them. So THERE’s a positive spin on cat poop!

  15. says

    Well said Sparkle! We’re with ya….those stories stink for cats and the people who love them. Good thing humans have the opposable thumbs to write the facts to correct others…and to dispense treats like Lickety Stiks!

  16. says

    As the Power of the Paw grows, so grows the population of people who are scared of cats, intimidated to the nth degree, and down right jealous of all the cats who have become excellent writers, reporters, advocates for animal welfare, and have mega more friends than they do.
    They feel threatened and they lash out, judge in haste and write silly papers. This kind of activity seems to be growing lately, but it won’t last.
    Sparkle – I agree with CK on the Be the Change Suggestion.

  17. says

    Toxoplasmosis is nothing new. Pregnant women have been warned forever. And parents warned to keep sandboxes covered. Why this has become a hot button issue recently is really more cat bashing. I think if those of us who blog, rescue, support and love kitties continue to sound the alarm about the falseness of these stories and allegations, we will eventually make a difference. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  18. says

    😆 I have been HIV+ for almost 15 years and all of our 9 kitteh’s over that time span up to and including our current rescue Mr. Munkee do pose a risk of infection to me with their poop, however like all things I take care of myself and the cats as well. Common f/u/c/k/ing sense goes a long long long ways to staying healthy in all avenues of your life. If I thought for one moment any of the cats posed a threat to me I would choose not to be a slave to any of them. As a responsible slave to the loves of or lives one does what is necessary to protect myself and to provide a loving stress free home for our dearest companions. I have grown weary over the past few years of all the bullshit in the media as to what is going to kill me…gods if I believed even 1/10 of the crap I would never ever leave the bed. LOL Peace to all and LOVE the kitteh’s!!

  19. says

    We get really tired of journalist picking on cats because all it does is fuel the idiots out there to do mean things since the cat lovers know the truth. We’re glad you addressed this Sparkle! We heard about it from Katie too. It’s time we put our paw down!

  20. Debby Hanoka says

    Sparkle, our staff does not understand that so-called report at all. She says that the risk humans like her contracting Toxo-Plasmosis can be almost completely eliminated by washing their hands with hot water and lots of soap after scooping the litter box. She even confirmed this with T.E.D. (The Evil Doctor, or the vet).

    Of course, we kitties shudder at the thought of getting wet, but if it keeps our staff healthy and able to continue spoiling us rotten, then we will permit it.

    Purrs & Headbonks,
    Lilith Kitten Mahoney, Rosco P. Catrane, & Miss Tina Marie Maine Coon (The Feline Contingent)
    & Debby Hanoka (Staff)

  21. says

    Did any of those articles compare the number of households with cats to the number of households who have ever been diagnosed with those illnesses? Not that I saw. Does it even matter? Because how many people really read a whole article? It’s the sensational headlines that cause the damage, because a lot of people don’t read beyond the headline or the very beginning of the article. I hadn’t seen either of these before seeing them on here, so I hope that means a lot of other people never saw them either. All these ridiculous studies….spending money to research things that are a non-issue, when that money could be spent on more important things like cancer research!

  22. Katie Bella says

    I had written about this a week ago in Katie’s blog and my human one. No one seemed to take it that seriously, it seemed to me. You can’t “ignore it” as was advised in comments– because the deep down problem is; horrible evil people will use this sort of “reporting” to commit even more horrors on a hapless and helpless animal. They will justify their cruelty by saying the cats are useless disease carriers. I wish I could understand WHY the media, all of it, have decided that cats will be the victims. There are more cat haters than I feared out there.

    Katie’s mom

  23. says

    The “funny” thing, if you pay attention long enough in terms of years is that you will find results of different researches on the same matter to be completely opposite. Like one year coffee is bad for humans and the other it is good. Plus the media don’t do their job of looking into how the research is conducted, on how many subjects, etc. Even worse, people read the stuff (sometimes just the title of the article which in itself sometimes isn’t saying what the content of the article is saying!), don’t look any further and reach the conclusion the media want them to reach. They’re not thinking or trying to look into the info. They just regurgitate the so-called information.
    Sad, really. And a lot of work to do on cat lovers’ side to spread the correct information.

  24. jmuhj says

    👿 I let ’em have it about this when I first saw it, YRH; and thank you for this! I’ve shared it to my s/n accounts with my own little message 😉 😡

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