I'm not much on pigs;
let's talk cats - Denese Rodgers

Maybe, it is the inevitable cynicism that one gets from social service. Or, maybe I just remember the last time we had a pseudo-media-induced panic about this, that, and the other.

But I'm over and done with the pig-bug.

I checked out the U.S. National Flu Report, and would you believe that Georgia is listed as only having "sporadic" reported cases? You'd never know it from watching our local newscasts, would you?

I've found something much deeper and more interesting - a feline-transmitted parasite called "Toxoplasma gondii." You don't even have to leave the country to get this one. I found "TG" in a Coolio story on abcnews.com: "Cat Parasite Affects Everything We Feel and Do."

Being a kitty aficionado, this one piqued my interest. It seems that this little parasite thingie "has been transmitted indirectly from cats to roughly half the people on the planet." Already done.

Not on the horizon coming at us, it is here.

Talk about sneaking in "on little cat feet." Where's the camera? Where's the CDC? Where are the talking heads to discuss the potential for feline quarantine?

According to the scientist who is promoting this theory, Kevin Lafferty, this nifty little parasite has the ability to alter one's personality.

It is his notion that a parasite is normally transmitted from the cat to a recipient, and then back to the cat to complete its life cycle. However, when it is transmitted to humans, there is no way for it to be reconsumed by the cat. And the inability of the parasite to complete its life cycle can alter the personality of the infected human.

Yes, that's right. A homesick parasite can create deviant personality manifestation. And my mama thought I had an active imagination.

Here's where I realize exactly how dull and routine my life must be, because it would never occur to me to even look for a parasite that jumps between pets and peeps. The redneck in me has all kinds of questions. If it changes my personality, does that mean I would want to sleep all day and prowl all night? Would I want to chase string and have my ears scratched?

In a peculiar attempt to quell the potential and obvious alarm, this article stated that "in Brazil, two out of three women ... are infected, whereas in the United States the number is only one out of eight." That does not really help.

According to NationalAtlas.gov, from the 2000 Census, "281.4 million people were counted in the United States - 143.4 million of whom were female, and 138.1 million male."

OK, let's take that as a given estimate and divide 143.4 million by 8. That is still 17.9 million people. So we've got 18,000,000 chicks toting a conflicted cat parasite around in their brains.

And you wonder why we can't drive? I'm gonna blame it on the cat.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.