As I write this, my cat is bumping her head up against my leg and purring. That doesnt make it any easier to write what Im about to write.

Mommy loves you, baby. Forgive me.

For those of you who think cats are the devil incarnatelet me add to your arsenal.

A new study has found an unusual link betweencat bites and depression.

According to the study, published online at the journalPLOS ONE,Over the course of 10 years, 41 percent of people who presented at hospitals with cat bites were also treated for depression at some point. Women who have been bitten by a cat have a 50 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives.

So I guess its just as you thought – cats eyes glow with pure evil.

The study notes that pet ownership has numerous benefits. It lowers blood pressure better than hypertension medication, for example. It also provides much-needed companionship. In my opinion, it also gives depressed people a reason to get up and do something when theyd rather retreat to the bedroom all day. The cat wont feed itself, unless you have a rodent problem or leave the door to your parakeets cage open. He wont clean his own litter box. Trust me on this, you do not want to neglect a litter box.

Researchers found that depressed people were more likely to own cats to begin with. Id give you my personal opinion on why this is the case, but I never set out to be a cat person. I was always a dog person who didnt understand how anyone could think a cat was cute, or why theyd want a pet that ignores them all the time. But then Molly showed up on my doorstep 5-1/2 years ago, just a fluffy little kitten, and she stole my heart. I cant imagine life without her, yet I never would have adopted her if Id seen her at Pet Smart.

The real link here, though, is between catbitesand depression. Supposedly cats have some of the dirtiest mouths in the animal kingdom, and its no surprise why. Outdoor cats spend their days killing and eating other animals, and unlike dogs, who are happy to spend a week covered in grass clippings and bird droppings, cats are constantly cleaning themselves. My cat is an indoor cat, but she walks around in her litter box and licks the crud off her feet.


Cats carry a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. It makes sense that a good bite from Kitty could wind up making you sick.

Infections from the parasite have been associated with self-inflicted violence as well as increased suicide rates in women. It has also been suggested that the inflammatory cytokines released during a T. gondii infection in the brain may be the cause of depression in some patients, according to researchers.

I must admit, its hard for me to grasp all of this, because my cat has never bitten me hard enough to draw blood not even when she was a playful kitten with razor sharp teeth. Molly is basically a marshmallow with eyes and teeth. I do get the occasional scratch when Im dumb enough to use my hand to play with her instead of her laser pointer (known around here as playing Dot’) and maybe those scratches can cause or worsen depression, too. There is such a thing asCat Scratch Disease, not to be confused with Cat Scratch Fever, the raunchy song made popular by Ted Nugent.

So here are a few tips from a cat owner with depression. I apologize if this sounds like plain old common sense, but we do live in a world where the instructions on the hairdryer box warns not to use it while sitting in a bathtub full of water:

  • Dont let your cat lick you on the mouth.
  • Dont play rough with your cat using your hands.
  • Change out the litter in the litter box often.
  • If your cat bites you a lot and you cant get him to stop,get a professional trainer’s help. Seriously. Thats not normal.
  • Dont ever break up a cat fight with your hands. Get a squirt bottle and fill it with water. I may get flack from animal lovers on this one, but its better than going to the ER.

In light of all this terrible information regarding vicious domesticated little lions, believe it or not I also have this piece of advice for you:adopt a pet. It doesnt matter if its a cat, a dog, a hamster, whatever. Having a buddy around the house means never being alone, and it gives you a sense of meaning and responsibility that, lets face it, houseplants just dont come with. Love on something else and it will be easier to love yourself.

Just keep antibacterial soap in the bathroom at all times.