Horrible news. Horrible. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Horrible news! Cats contain parasites that may lead to mental illness! They carry toxoplasma gondii, which, in humans with weakened immune systems, can lead to all kinds of extremely dire consequences. Miscarriages! Blindness! Death! Schizophrenia!

How to respond to the study’s finding that having a cat in childhood contributed to an increased risk of schizophrenia later in life?

(To be fair, all you have to do is cover the litter box, keep your cat indoors and keep pregnant women from changing the litter box; you need not turn the cat immediately out of your home.) But still, it’s enough to create a panic. Below, a sampling of responses from household pets.

Goldfish
you’re telling me cats have parasites? my god
you’re telling me cats have parasites? my god
you’re telling me cats have parasites? my god
you’re telling me cats have parasites? my god

Bird
As far as I’m concerned you should never have a cat in any household for any reason. Or outside a household. We also oppose those invisible walls that surround all human dwellings. If you’re a wall, look like a wall, not like air. That’s mean.
And we don’t understand why humans like to watch us bathe so much. If I set up a big bowl of water in my backyard and labeled it “Human Bath,” you would think I was some sort of weirdo.
No, I don’t want a cracker.

Dog
I WUD NVR BRIG YU PAIRASITE (OR EVN ONE SITE)
FOR I LOV YU
AM GUD DUOG YES?
AM GUD DUOG?
i at yuor shoe but i onyl at it a litl & it poses n0 thret now
m sorry m very sorry
AM GUD DUOG?

Cat
This risk is doubtless grossly, grossly exaggerated and I think we should wait for the rest of the science to come in before we make any hasty moves.
Also, of course, ask yourself whether owning a cat is not worth any risk, no matter how great? I would say that it is. What is a little danger of disease weighed against the sublime indifference of a cat when you return home? What is one parasite compared to the crowning moment when a cat who has been suffering her belly to be rubbed turns and claws you for no apparent reason, to remind you that the universe is not fair?
If you throw a stick away, cats never question your decision to get rid of it, and we would certainly not bring it back. We should be commended for this quality.
Look, I understand that as a cat I am liable to accusations of being insensitive when mental illness is concerned. I had a human who did not get out of bed for nearly a week, but I thought it was simply that she had attained to the enlightenment of a cat and I was pleased and proud of her. I, too, have weeks when I just lie around in bed, blinking occasionally and stretching, and they are a sign that all is right with me. How was I to know? We have a blind spot.
Cats provide invaluable services — stopping you from doing too much work, perforating your legs to let them breathe, bleeding you to release the bad humors, getting you out of bed early and keeping your ego in check.
To my mind humans are far too ungrateful to cats for our continued sufferance of your little quirks and whimsies. The other day I made a good-faith effort to redecorate and someone sprayed me. I brought home a delicious bird that was just recently deceased, and no one ate it, which was very insulting to me, just culturally. Furthermore, I have never asked to be taken into a rainstorm to do my business.
We used to be gods you know.

Rat
Put THAT in your pipe and SMOKE IT!
Who’s causing plague NOW?

Mouse
We remain opposed to cats as an institution. We are pleased that this research is finally seeing the light of day. This is so far much more successful than our effort several decades ago to turn the public against cats with a terrible musical of the same name, which backfired horribly.

Turtle
………..I……….FEEL………THAT……….

Rabbit
more lettuce please
i thought humans were aware of this devil’s bargain all along
not this lettuce it is identical to the rest of the lettuce but for some reason i don’t want it

Hamster
Look I will have an opinion on this in time but it is of
utmost
importance
that i keep running through this wheel
you just caught me in the middle of my workout and i have to power the whole city
if i ever stop running on this wheel did you know that the whole city will run out of power
o yes
o yes
this isn’t just about me
this is about the BIG PICTURE
cats don’t power anything do they
look at me go
i am doing you all a great service

Cockroach
the cat Mehitabel is greatly distressed
this is not her fault
she says
there may be a parasite in her body she says
but not the soul archy not the soul
still i can tell it weighs on her but
all the same we must strive she says
toujours gai toujours gai

Snake
As I was saying, snakes are safe pets! Relatively speaking.