Brits are being told to beware of a parasite found in cats that is linked to dementia. In what has been deemed as a shock to cat owners, a recent study found that every year 350,000 people in the UK fall prey to Toxoplasma, which is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Among the effects of this condition are dementia, schizophrenia, blindness and birth defects. However, Cats Protection are warning that it is important to stay calm and stress that cat owners are just as likely to contract Toxoplasma as those with no contact with cats. Toxoplasma gondii is most commonly transferred to humans through uncooked meat or contaminated soil, which is ingested when vegetables aren't washed properly. What's more, severe effects from the parasite are extremely rare and 33 per cent of Brits will probably be infected at some point in their life. In a statement, Cats Protection said: "We are extremely concerned that putting the emphasis on felines may discourage people from adopting a cat or encourage cat owners to unnecessarily give up their pets. "Let us also not forget the many benefits and enrichment that cats bring to the lives of their owners." Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.