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CattyCorner: The Rise of the Ringworm and How to Swell It

Greetings, my paw-like human minions and cat cohorts.

Forrest the cat back again, this time with a scaly motif.

Mom has a friend a few streets away who takes care of kittens. We go over and visit her quite often because mom’s friend thinks I’m a great role model for kittens. She is quite right.

But today we got a warning to stay out until the all-clear. You may be wondering why someone wouldn’t want my astonishment to come to visit, but don’t worry, I haven’t trespassed anyway. The request is for my safety only as the foster lady has a couple of kittens who picked it up DREADED RINGWORM

@ nebulajaw / Instagram

Ring around the Uh-Oh!

You can bet I won’t black out that doorstep until someone shows me black light evidence of a ringworm free zone. Ringworm is highly contagious to both cats and humans.

But did you know that ringworm is not a worm at all?

No, it is actually a fungus that causes infections in the skin, hair, and nails. The name “ringworm” refers to the appearance of red welts on the skin with a raised circular pattern. It is very similar to the appearance of the skin if, in fact, a worm had invaded the upper layers. But not all ringworm infections cause the tell-tale ring rash. So how can you tell if your cat has ringworm?

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Look for these ringworm symptoms in cats, according to veterinary experts:

  • Hair loss in round patterns
  • Broken and spiky hair
  • Scaly, crusty skin
  • Changes in coat and skin color
  • Angry red skin
  • Excessive grooming and scratching
  • Infected claws
  • Dandruff

If your cat has any of these signs of ringworm infection, call your veterinarian.

How to treat ringworm

At the vet, the doctor will take skin and hair samples to determine what is going on. You can also use ultraviolet light to confirm ringworm infection, as infected fur glows a hideous yellow-green.

@ tlc_with_mama_g / Instagram

I’ve seen it once, this glow. At the shelter, a stray cat with crispy fur checked in and the staff turned on a black light over the poor darling. The eerie pallor emanating from the cat’s fur put the staff in a kind of containment, as both cats and humans were at risk. But they prevailed and everything was fine.

But I digress …

Once the vet confirms the ringworm, cats will be prescribed a range of antifungal drugs, from oral medications to topical creams. If the itchy, scaly patches appear all over the body, a lime-sulfur dip may be required. Sounds pretty easy, but keep in mind that cleaning up the ringworm isn’t quick. Expect a permanent process of 6 weeks or more.

@ Fosterpetsofac / Instagram

The fungus responsible for ringworm begins as spores in the soil. Once lifted out of the dirt, they wander lightly and land to wreak havoc with every touch they dare to touch.

If one of your kitty overlords picks up the ringworm to keep the fungus from overwhelming your home, cats, and skin, isolate the scaly cat and make sure you do the deepest house clean ever done . The cats will surely stroke tails on the vacuum, but give them treats and tell them it’s for their own good. Don’t tell them I said so. I hate the vacuum too. I work hard tossing my fur around the house and this infernal machine undoes the job in one fell swoop. In the case of a ringworm, however, vacuum is a necessary evil.

But after putting the noisy animal away, remember the most important task of all …

Don’t forget to feed the cat.

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