Is childhood cat ownership a risk factor for schizophrenia later in life?

E. Fuller Torrey, Wendy Simmons, Robert H. Yolken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Two previous studies suggested that childhood cat ownership is a possible risk factor for later developing schizophrenia or other serious mental illness. We therefore used an earlier, large NAMI questionnaire to try and replicate this finding. The results were the same, suggesting that cat ownership in childhood is significantly more common in families in which the child later becomes seriously mentally ill. If true, an explanatory mechanism may be Toxoplasma gondii. We urge our colleagues to try and replicate these findings to clarify whether childhood cat ownership is truly a risk factor for later schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cat contact
  • Schizophrenia
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Toxoplasmosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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