Adopting a Ringworm Cat FAQ

What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is the common name for the skin infection caused by a group of fungi; it is not caused by a worm at all. Most often it will cause a circular area of fur loss that is red and may be slightly raised. Ringworm can also have other characteristics but these circular, hairless lesions are most common.

Ringworm is similar to athlete’s foot in humans. It is contagious to people; the young, old, and immune-compromised are more likely to get it. Ringworm is also very contagious to other animals.

Am I going to get ringworm from my new kitty?

It is possible for you and anyone in your living space to get ringworm from your new cat. Washing your hands after handling the cat can help reduce the chances of transmission, but some people may be at greater risk than others. This puts young animals and children, elderly people and pets, those who are HIV+, people on chemotherapy or taking medication after transfusion or organ transplant, and highly stressed people and animals at high risk.

What if I get ringworm!?

If you have ever had athlete’s foot or jock itch, then you have already had a skin fungus like ringworm. It is easy to treat on humans (no fur). Treatment is merely applying a little anti-fungal cream, like Lamisil. Lamisil is an over the counter anti-fungal cream that can be found at any pharmacy. Apply the anti-fungal cream liberally to the infected area, a few times a day, and cover with a bandaid to keep the area clean and dry. In a few days, no more ringworm!

What about my other animals?

In order to keep your other pets from contracting ringworm, we recommend that you keep your newly adopted cat  in an isolated room that is easy to clean, such as a bathroom.

Washing your hands and changing your clothes in between petting your ringworm kitty and other animals can reduce the chance of spreading the fungus as well. Remember, your shoes can also be a carrier of the spores.

What treatment do the cats need?

Ringworm cats are treated once daily with oral medicine, called Itraconazole, and twice weekly with Lyme medical dip bath, which unfortunately is a little stinky. You will be provided with the oral medicine, the medicated dip, gloves, and instructions for treating the kitties – everything you need to treat them for free, and we are always available to give advice and support!

What about getting ringworm my house?

If you put the cat with ringworm in a bathroom or other confined tile space, clean up is easy. Ringworm is killed by diluted bleach; a 10:1 ratio water/bleach solution works well. Apply this water/bleach solution to the surfaces your ringworm kitty has come into contact with and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. Wipe down those surfaces. All of the ringworm kitty’s bedding should be washed with bleach weekly while still infected, and then once more after your new cat is cleared of ringworm to kill any possible residual spores.