“If you’re a cat-owning woman, chances are that you’ve been called a ‘cat lady’ at some time or other, implying that you’ll die alone, celibate and surrounded by moggies. But it now turns out that that old trope couldn’t be further from the truth. Because owning a cat might, in fact, be connected to a love of bondage and BDSM. According to a new study, humans who catch a condition known as toxoplasmosis from their feline friends, are more likely to be sexually aroused ‘by their own fear, danger and sexual submission’. The report is based on analysis of over 36,500 people in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, some of whom have toxoplasmosis and others who were parasite-free. And it claims to have found that individuals with the condition were more aroused by danger and sexual submission, suggesting that the preference might be a symptom of the infection. Of course, for the vast majority of people who enjoy BDSM, their love of being dominated will stem from an inherent sexual urge and, even as the lead author Jaroslav Flegr explains, humans will always have some link between fear and sex. This study isn’t saying that cats are wholly responsible for every banker being flogged in underground sex dungeons. But what it is suggesting is that there might be a heightened relationship between those with toxoplasmosis due to the effect the parasite has on the brain and human behaviour. The condition comes from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which can usually be found in cat feces. Remember Tommy from Trainspotting who died from being surrounded by cat sh*t (the heroin probably didn’t help either)? Apparently, around a third of the world’s population is actually infected with the parasite but it rarely manifests into anything and is usually symptom-less. It can, however, cause flu-like symptoms like headaches, fever and fatigue. And in some people, it’s been linked to behavioural changes and mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. You can find out if you have it with a simple blood test. The study also went to say that those with Toxoplasma might have a ‘higher attraction to bondage, violence and, in men, to masochism and raping’.